The Dog Days of DNA

28 May

No one doubts that DNA has become an incredibly useful tool for the forensic scientist and for law enforcement. It has helped solve cases that are many decades-old, helped expose the fraud of a woman who claimed to be Anastasia, and helped track down more than one serial predator, including Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer.

DNA can now be found on the lips of discarded coffee cups and on the butts of cigarettes. It has been found inside the mask used by a predator to hide his identity.  It has been found on postage stamps and envelopes. It is been found in the hair or toothbrush of a young child and used to establish the identity of her skeletal remains. It has been picked up from fingerprints left at crime scenes and of course from virtually every bodily fluid.

Now it’s being used to solve the most heinous of crimes: What can only be called The Dog Poop Caper.

It seems that the residents at an upscale condo community in Baltimore have become upset because someone’s dog has been making deposits all over the neighborhood. Unable to track down the culprit, and with no one coming forward with a mea culpa, they have resorted to DNA testing of dog poop. This is every forensic scientist’s dream, I’m sure.

The community voted that each owner must submit his pet for testing and must bear the $50 cost of the DNA testing. But rest assured, that once the testing is done, the culprit will be identified and suffer grievous punishment, either incarceration at the local dog pound or perhaps the embarrassment of wearing doggy diapers.

As one of the dog owners put it: “I feel like I’m living in a Seinfeld episode.”

Well put.


Posted by on May 28, 2010 in Cool & Odd-Mostly Odd, DNA


6 responses to “The Dog Days of DNA

  1. Ashley

    May 28, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    These people have never heard of security cameras?

    And I’m speechless (well, not quite!) at the suggestion (I hope facetious) that the dog might end up at the pound. The owner, fine. (I like the idea of making the owner wear diapers, too, come to think of it.) The dog doesn’t know anything about real estate law.


    • D.P. Lyle, MD

      May 28, 2010 at 2:52 pm

      I doubt the dog will be punished, just the owner. I was being facetious.


  2. leelofland

    May 28, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    But will the DNA also be used to exclude an innocent “pup…etrator?”


  3. J.D.

    May 29, 2010 at 4:44 am

    $50 for DNA testing? Much less than I expected. There goes the old “he’s not my kid” argument.


  4. Tapu

    June 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Related to this: I’ve heard that for–guess how much–$50, you can have your mutt’s DNA tested to see what all breeds are in it. Don’t you just know that there’s a big market for that? God help us.



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