Michael Ford (post until Oct. 31/19)
Real Estate

Dog waste DNA test raises questions for condo corporations

While a new initiative that aims to test dog waste in order to identify and fine condo dwellers who don’t stoop and scoop could be a useful tool, it is not without its challenges and hurdles, Toronto condominium lawyer Armand Conant tells Global News.

As the report explains, a Toronto company recently launched a service that aims to track down inconsiderate owners through DNA testing of dog waste. The concept is initially being marketed to property management companies, and is already being used in the U.S.

The concept works by first performing a swab of dogs in the building, which are then sent to the DNA World Pet Registry for a $50 fee. When dog waste is found, it is sent to a lab and compared to registered samples, says Global News.

As Conant, partner and head of the condominium law group at Shibley Righton LLP and board member of the Toronto chapter of Canadian Condominium Institute (CCI), tells Global News, there are still many questions around this idea.

“How do you mandate it, and who’s going to pay for the cost – so, can we, in a rule, mandate that you have to have your dog swabbed and pay $50? That’s a problem.”

Although Conant tells AdvocateDaily.com that the DNA registry is a good idea because identifying dog owners who don't pick up after their pets is a problem for condo corporations and management, he says CCI Toronto believes there are many solutions, including education, town hall meetings and flyers.

"The DNA registry is an arrow in the quiver of tools that are available to boards of directors to try and control the dog poop and urine problem. However, how are you going to impose on people an obligation to have their dog swabbed and pay $50? That's where the problem arises. Can a condo corporation force somebody to swab their dog and pay $50? Or does the condo corporation pick up the tab? What about the other unit owners who don't have dogs who would be picking up the costs if the condo corporation paid them? Can you force people to do this?"

Another issue, he tells AdvocateDaily.com, is the fact that condo corporations have to be mindful of privacy issues.

“There's no such thing as privacy law for dogs, but you still want to safeguard the data and the privacy of unit owner,” says Conant.

Ultimately, he says, corporations have various tools at their disposal to try and curb, reduce and hopefully eliminate the problem of people not picking up after their pets, or at least be able to recoup the costs of cleaning up for the owner.

“The difficulty is the identification of the culprits. This tool could absolutely help.

“If you can identify the dog owner, you can identify the unit and you can charge back the costs incurred in cleaning up the poop,” he adds.

To Read More Armand Conant Posts Click Here
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