A condominium association in Baltimore made headlines recently when it revealed it was considering using DNA testing to track down a unit owner who refused to pick up after a pet dog. While South Florida condo owners have struggled for years to persuade many associations to allow pets in the first place, some condo advocates favor using technology and strict association guidelines to create a better atmosphere in which all residents can be happy.
A condominium association in Baltimore made headlines recently when it revealed it was considering using DNA testing to track down a unit owner who refused to pick up after a pet dog.
Scarlett Place in Baltimore is considering testing all dogs in the building to find the culprit, after which, the offending unit owner could be fined as much as $500.
The condo is using a DNA testing program called PooPrints, the product of Tennessee-based BioPet Vet Lab. For $30, pet owners can send in a swab of their pet's saliva, the DNA of which would be extracted and kept in a database. If an association wanted to know which owner was not cleaning up after his or her pet, a small sample could be collected and sent to the lab for testing.
Jim Simpson, president of the lab, said associations that participate in the program each handle penalties individually. Some associations impose fines, while others threaten to publish the offending owner's name in the association newsletter.
"It's all over the board what associations are choosing to do," Simpson said. "Most people want to make [the penalty] steep enough to make [the owners] think."
The program, implemented earlier this year, has yet to acquire any business in Florida, Simpson said. However, he said, California and New England are hotbeds of business.
Maida Genser, president of Citizens for Pets in Condos, a Tamarac-based nonprofit dedicated to helping unit owners persuade condominium associations to allow pets, said she approves of using stricter guidelines to control pets. The most common concerns among board members and residents concern animal waste, barking and allergies to pet dander.
Genser said the PooPrints program could persuade some boards to allow pets, since the cost of the program could be passed on to pet owners.
Simpson said his program could help both unit owners in Florida who want pets and associations that want to ensure any mess is cleaned up.
Statistics are unavailable on how many Broward condominiums are pet-friendly, but Genser said real estate advertisements indicate the percentage in small.
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