Sunday, May 27, 2012

DNA sampling for dogs at apartment complexes.

The Rosedale Estates apartment complex in Minneapolis has begun a new program for cracking down on tenants that do not clean up after their dogs. From now on, the complex will collect DNA samples from every dog that lives in the complex. These samples will be held by a private laboratory that will compare the samples to dog feces left on the premises. The complex began this program in response to a growing problem that left the outdoors virtually unwalkable. The Minneapolis CBS affiliate has more details.

This program would be legal in Pennsylvania, as landlords may go so far as to exclude dog owners entirely. Landlords may charge dog owners for the initial sampling. Landlords may charge violators for the cost of the comparison testing once a violator is identified. Landlords should be careful to enforce such a program uniformly, as a situation with as high a volume as that at the Rosedale complex would tempt selective enforcement.

I believe that this policy could be enforced even against guide dog owners so long as it is enforced uniformly and so long as it does not appear that the policy exists for the purpose of excluding the visually impaired. Such a policy would invite litigation, so this policy should be restricted for the most severe cases, such as the situation at Rosedale in Minnesota.

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