Don’t Clean Up After Your Dog? Casto Communities’ DNA Detectives Are on the Case

Apartment owner Casto nabs irresponsible dog owners at their communities using a service called “PooPrints.”

Kathy Lynn Gray
Casto Communities is cracking down on owners who don't clean up after their dogs.

Puppy poop isn’t something normally discussed in polite company—or the pages of Columbus Monthly—but it can be a stinker of a problem if apartment residents leave it lying about when they walk their canine companions. “One of the biggest complaints from residents is people who don’t clean up after their dogs,” says John Carter, a managing director for Casto Communities. “Especially after the winter, when the snow would melt and reveal the piles.”

Enter PooPrints, a service that Casto has embraced at most of its 20 residential communities even though, Carter acknowledges, it’s a little odd.

Here’s how it works: Dog owners renting a Casto apartment send in a spit sample from their pooch’s mouth. BioPet Laboratories Inc., which manages PooPrints, tests the spit, determines the dog’s DNA and records it in the lab’s national pet registry.

Now comes the interesting part: DNA also can be determined from poop, so if a doggy deposit is left on the apartment grounds, the complex can ship it to BioPet to see if its DNA matches any doggie residents. If it does, the dog’s owner is fined, Carter says.

Mostly, he says, PooPrints acts as a deterrent. Casto has used it for a few years, and fines have been rare. “I’ve seen a lot more people cleaning up,” Carter says.

And that, as they say, is the scoop on poop. 

This story is from the August 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.