Peter Gillette has lived at the 10 Newbridge apartments in Woodfin for about six months with his German Shepherd named Bella.
10 Newbridge is likely one of the most pet-friendly complexes you'll come across. It allows up to three dogs per unit and even has a pet spa and football field length dog park under construction.
But as more residents moved into the complex, Gillette noticed a growing problem around the grounds.
"As the units have expanded, more and more dog owners have come in, and picking up after themselves became quite a problem," Gillette said. "I clean up after my dogs, and I think other people should do the same. But it's gotten out of hand."
Management at 10 Newbridge agreed with Gillette and informed residents in mid-February they had three weeks to register their dogs' DNA with a saliva swab or face a fine of $250 for each unregistered dog.
The complex is using a service called PooPrints, which helps management companies identify whose dog did what so they can be held accountable.
"We have a lot of residents who, as pet-friendly as we are and they are, tend to look over some of the piles that should be picked up," said Taylor Adams, property manager at 10 Newbridge. "It was a way for us to hold residents accountable, ensure that our community was sanitary, that we were protecting the integrity of our community."
If management finds a "pile" after the March 9 deadline, it'll take a sample and ship it to PooPrints, part of the BioPet Labs in Knoxville. If the sample matches a registered dog, the owner will be initially fined $100. Each additional pile will be $150. If an excessive amount of matches are made, residents could be asked to pick up and leave.
10 Newbridge decided to take on the cost of registering each dog so it is free for residents. It will cost the complex a little more than $50 to send a sample to PooPrints, but it expects to make that back in fees and savings in maintenance costs.
Adams said feedback from residents has been only positive so far.
"They're aware of the problem as much as we are," Adams said.
"I'm excited about it," Gillette said. "I'm retired, so I'm out here every day and I have noticed the amount of feces on the ground is slowly decreasing, so it's effective."
Adams said in the previous complex she worked for she noticed a "99 percent" decrease after implementing the PooPrints program.
The DNA samples can also be used to help identify lost dogs, and once owners register their furry friend they'll never have to again.
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