First World Problems in Boulder

As previously mentioned, the IPCC released it’s “impacts” report today, and the media did their duty by collectively wetting their pants.  You think I jest?  Check out—if you can stand it—NBC’s Brian Williams saying that “We’ve never been warned like this before” about climate change.  Really?  What 30 Rock has he been living under?  (Next he’ll tell us that nobody has ever warned us before about the dangers of cigarette smoking. . .)

So what are people in deep green Boulder, Colorado worried about this week?  DNA testing.  Of dog poop.

Could fecal DNA database solve Boulder’s dog waste dilemma?

Advocates for open space and Boulder officials long have lamented the difficulty of enforcing the law against people who leave dog waste along area trails.

Boulder City Councilwoman Mary Young wants to know how feasible it would be to require DNA samples from dogs with city-issued green tags that could be saved for later comparison to waste found on open space.

Young couldn’t be reached Thursday afternoon, but in a note to the City Council’s “Hotline” email list, she said a community member made the suggestion, and asked Open Space and Mountain Parks to report on the feasibility of the idea at Tuesday’s council meeting.

In the “Hotline” message, Young said the suggestion was to “require a fecal sample when dog owners apply for open space privileges or when renewing their dog licenses. The city would keep a file of the DNA and any poop samples found could be easily identified, and the owner fined accordingly.”

The Denver Post editorial board likes the idea [with my comments inserted in brackets]:

Dog Poop DNA in Boulder?  Don’t Laugh Just Yet

The knee-jerk response to a Boulder councilwoman’s query about whether it would be feasible to require DNA samples from registered dogs so they can be compared to waste found on open space is of course ridicule.

Only in a wealthy enclave like Boulder! Aren’t there better things to spend public money on?  And does the city wish to be a laughingstock?   [Um. . . too late.]

And there is of course some truth in the notion that using advanced technology to track down those responsible for dog poop would occur only in a community where there is a whole lot of disposable income.

But as the Daily Camera’s Erica Meltzer reported, DNA tracking of dog poop is hardly a novel idea. A company in Knoxville, Tenn., already provides the service to “private property management companies in 45 states and in Canada.” And the result? Allegedly, “pet waste goes down by about 90 percent,” a spokesman said.

For a lot of reasons, we’re not suggesting Boulder adopt such a plan. But don’t mock the idea of using front-line technology to solve everyday problems. It happens all the time.

I think Brian Williams needs to jump on this story right away.  Now that we’ve been warned about climate change and every nation is just sure to take radical action.

Dog2 copy


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