There is a term ‘Social Shaping’ that refers to the way in which technologies are adapted by end users to fulfil roles that may be very different to their original purpose.
DNA testing is a technology that been applied to a plethora of end uses, many of which were unlikely to have been envisaged by the pioneers of DNA research. It seems unlikely that dog poop was high on the topics of discussion when possible benefits of unravelling the DNA code were discussed.
In New York, a very different environment to the clinical laboratories of Leicester University; Social Shaping has taken its grasp of DNA technology to help tackle the menace of dog fouling.
The method is simple, if not a little divisive but it is becoming popular in some residential areas across parts of America. Dogs must provide a sample of their DNA to the landlords of apartment complexes or housing communities and, when poops are discovered, the forensic experts do their bit to establish if the perpetrator is known to the DNA database. The resulting fines for an offender can be sizeable and probably do provide an effective deterrent. There is much humour in discussions around the schemes but clearly there is an element of Big Brother that many find mildly disturbing.
Currently this is a scheme in its infancy and it appears unlikely to be implemented in quite the same way on the east side of the Atlantic Ocean. However, it may be a suggestion of future uses of DNA technology and its possible impact on dog ownership.
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