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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

May 9, 2011, 2 p.m., EDT

Italian CSI Approach to Tracking Down Those Dirty Dogs

By David Alderton

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Click to enlarge.The beautiful, white-washed Mediterranean island of Capri, which lies off the southwestern coast of Italy near Sorrento, has a reputation as a very stylish holiday destination. In the past, it was a favorite haunt of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, as well as Graham Greene and many other writers and artists.

Today, increasing numbers of visitors are flocking to this small island, which is just 1.2 square miles in area. It is also home to some 7,000 people who keep about 1,000 dogs, all of which have their DNA recorded.

This database has been set up to ensure the dogs have been screened for the parasitic blood-borne disease called leishmaniasis, which is spread by biting sandflies. Now however, the mayor of the island is looking to use this information for a different purpose.

Out on the Streets

Due to a growing number of complaints about owners failing to clear up after their pets, a plan is in the works to send left-behind deposits to a laboratory for DNA analysis. This in turn will allow the perpetrator, along with its owner, to be identified from the database.

The person concerned would then be summoned and likely face a variable fine of up to $3,000. It has been suggested that the level of the fine may be related to the weight of the deposit in question.

According to Mayor Ciro Lembo, the situation on Capri is particularly bad, given the steep and narrow paths that are little more than 3-feet wide in the town centre. Although he insists he himself is a dog-lover, he cites the risk of people slipping and injuring themselves as the need for this approach. He also said some visitors have complained about having to discard clothes after unfortunate close encounters with canine left-behinds.

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