Market Common management: Leave pet waste behind, get a fine

DNA testing is critical in linking crime scenes to suspects, but now the science is going to the dogs.

Myrtle Beach has joined a handful of communities nationwide in implementing penalties for pet owners who don't pick up after their animals.

Market Common now uses a company called PooPrints to DNA test pets of their residents and hotel guests, according to Brooke Doswell, general manager of the Market Common.

"We've had a problem in the quarters, and we've even had a problem on the roof. We try to keep the property pristine for residents and shoppers alike, and we heard that the property owners in the neighborhood were having a problem and arguing about who picked it up," said Doswell.

Doswell found PooPrints on Facebook. The company specializes in doggie DNA testing that links the pooch to the poop.

"Every pet that lives in the community will be swabbed to get a reference DNA sample. Then if there is any waste left to be found on the ground, a small sample is quickly and cleanly selected and sent into our lab for matching," according to Eric Mayer, Director of Business for PooPrints.

If pet waste is left behind in Market Common, the sample is sent to Florida for testing. Once a match is made, the pet owner gets hit with a $500 fine.

Residents and visitors at Market Common said they don't think the penalty is too stiff.

"I think that as long as the homeowners or renters know before hand, then it's okay to just go ahead and assert the $500 fine," said Jay Gasbarro, a Market Common resident.

The City of Myrtle Beach also a levies a $500 fine on people who leave pet waste behind.

Market Common started using the PooPrints program in May of 2014.

In July, 10 samples were sent to the lab in Florida for testing.