The European town where dogs’ DNA is being taken to catch owners for dog poo

The mayor of a French town is introducing a new requirement for dog owners as he announces he’s “had enough of all this poo”. 

Dog owners in Béziers, south France, will now need to take a compulsory saliva sample from their dogs so that the DNA can be used to identify errant dog poos as the town is inundated with the stuff.

Mayor Robert Ménard said the new scheme, which was first suggested unopposed two months ago, will be available for free to residents. 

He said: “I’ve had enough of all this poo. 

“We collect over a thousand a month in the city centre alone. We have to penalise people so that they behave properly”.

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Owners whose dogs do not have passports now face a fine. 

The scheme follows a plan in 2016 suggested by Mr Ménard to register dogs and then penalise owners who failed to pick up after them.

This was challenged before the Montpellier administrative court by former sub-prefect Christian Pouget, and later rejected on the grounds of infringing civil liberties.

However, the DNA database created as part of that initial idea was not removed – and is now being used in the new plan.

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With the two-month period for challenging the proposal having now passed, Robert Ménard told France Bleu: “The two-year experiment can now begin.”

Dog owners will now be required to provide proof of genetic identification (a document provided by a vet) if they wish to walk along the streets of Béziers.

For Mr Ménard, the battle against dog poo in the town has been a key election focus, according to local media.

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Anyone unable to provide a passport proving that their dog’s DNA is in the system will be liable for a fee of €38, while those who are found to have left dog poo on the streets will be hit with a bill of up to €122.

For any Brits interested in heading to the town, the mayor said there will be a “certain amount of flexibility” for tourists.

He said however: “If they pick up their poo, we won’t bother them. But let’s not be xenophobic. Foreigners are not a problem.

“It’s the people of Béziers who don’t pick it up. We have to set an example. Those who don’t are scornful. I can’t stand it when people say, but there’s a cleaning service. It’s just incredible.”

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