DNA-testing could be used to curb dog owners not clearing up after their pooches

Horning councillor Barbara McGoun has become a self-styled 'poo fairy' scooping up dog poo on Hornin

Horning councillor Barbara McGoun has become a self-styled 'poo fairy' scooping up dog poo on Horning recreation ground. Pictured with her dog Pepper.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A fact-finding mission is being considered to see if new DNA-based technology could help curb dog fouling across the Great Yarmouth borough.

It comes as officials in Barking and Dagenham prepare to reveal the results of a pilot scheme carried out in three wards there.

Under the scheme dog owners volunteer to have information about their pets stored on a database.

The results of samples collected in the street are then compared with those that are registered.

Councillor Carl Smith, cabinet member for the environment, said he understood the London borough was looking to hold a conference aimed at telling other councils about the scheme next month.

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Depending on the costs involved Mr Smith said it could work in Yarmouth but that it was early days, and at the moment it was simply a case of finding out some more information rather than tabling a plan.

Mr Smith added that he understood the scheme had been responsible for a 50pc drop in dog fouling, so it was worth looking into but one of the main issues was cost.

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'It is something we would look into but cost would be the major thing. If the Government were to help us then that would be wonderful,' he added.

Gary Downie, managing director of PooPrints UK which is carrying out the pilot in London said it was a chance for both the residents and council to experience the service and contribute to the design as well as measuring how effective it could be.

He added that at least 100 local authorities had expressed an interest in finding out more information, hence the hosted session probably next month to tell people 'in one place at one time' how it works within the framework of existing legislation.

Microchipping of dogs was required by law since the beginning of this month.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council says it has one of the best records in Norfolk for the enforcement on dog-fouling owners.

Although there was no suggestion the problem in Yarmouth was worse than anywhere else, the town had taken a tough stance on dog owners who failed to clear up after their pets and was 'talked about' by other councils in terms of its success.

Having taken a pro-active stance in tackling the problem and shared its results, a spokesman said, it probably had the best record in Norfolk.

He added: 'The council has taken formal action for dog-fouling on 70 occasions since 2010, including 46 prosecutions. Officers in Environmental Services have registered an interest in attending the workshop in order to find out more about what has been done and achieved in Barking and Dagenham.

'This is purely a fact-finding mission – there are still important questions to be answered before this idea could even be considered seriously as an option, not least the financial and legal implications.'

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