Destin condo board seeks DNA from pets

Article Courtesy of The St. Augustine Record

Published November 25, 2015


DESTIN — Some Florida condo owners are steaming after their homeowners association asked them to submit their dog’s DNA in order to fine owners who don’t pick up after their pets.

Some Harbor Landing residents said they feel it’s an invasion of privacy. A letter sent last week asked residents to register their dogs and cats with the association through a DNA test, citing a significant increase in the amount of animal feces found throughout the property recently, including inside the elevators.

“The DNA sample will then be sent off to a lab for testing and recording. This will then allow for the Association to track down the owner of the pet waste and stop the problems,” the letter stated.

Pet owners would have to pay for the DNA test, registration fee and any potential cleanup fees.

Condo officials say it’s a voluntary process, but some residents fear they will be evicted or asked to leave.

“I think the consensus is that we are trying to be reasonable, cooperative, but this just rubs the dog owners the wrong way,” one resident told the Northwest Florida Daily News but declined to use his name for fear of retaliation. “It feels invasive, over-reaching, and was enacted by a board who last month tried to outlaw smoking on your own private deck.”

Condo officials said the measure is only meant to help keep the property clean.

“Between the two buildings here at Harbor Landing we have a total of 33 dogs,” said Maintenance Supervisor Mike Russell. “We just can’t catch the people that are not picking up behind their dogs, so the board chose to go with DNA testing.”

Joe Sanderson, president of the Harbor Landing association, said the process is actually common among similar groups and, once enacted, often leads to a feces-free environment.