HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Rental communities along the Grand Strand are taking extensive steps to encourage dog owners to reach for plastic bags when taking their pet out.
Palmetto Pointe Apartments gave letters to its residents this week asking those who own dogs to bring them in for DNA testing over the next two months, something The Market Common implemented last summer.
"It holds owners accountable for picking up after their pets and they know if they don't, there could be a fee involved," said Heather Gray, general manager of The Market Common.
Both Palmetto Pointe and The Market Common use the company PooPrints, which collects dog DNA and stores it in a database. Palmetto Pointe will be paying for the DNA testing for current residents.
They can then send in waste samples to be tested, which allows property managers to figure out exactly who is responsible for dog poop that hasn't been cleaned up.
"We have noticed a huge difference just in our flower beds and sidewalks since then," Gray said. "We're very pleased with our progress."
At Palmetto Pointe, when a resident's dog matches the DNA in a poop sample, that person will be charged $150 or more depending on the number of previous offenses. The fourth offense will be grounds for eviction.
A Palmetto Pointe representative said one of the top complaints from residents is about pet waste, which is why the property decided to participate in the program.
"It's unfortunate that some people think it's ok to let their dogs go to the bathroom and not clean it up," said Julie OConnell, who lives in Palmetto Pointe with two dogs. "I always have my baggies with me."
Some residents agree it's a great idea, which will benefit the entire community.
"I personally think it's going to be a good thing," said Robert Keith, a pet owner in Palmetto Pointe. "It's going to A, make for a little more responsible pet owners as well as keeping our community a lot cleaner."
Others said they don't want their rental company demanding their dog be DNA tested for privacy reasons.
"My dog is like my son or daughter and I don't think anyone's going to come up to me and say I'm going to DNA test your dog," said Evan D'Alessandro, who has a dog in Palmetto Pointe.
Seaside Grove Apartments recently adapted the program as well and a representative said the complex has already noticed an improvement just within the time the dogs were being DNA tested.