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DNA to the rescue

I read a news story recently that put me all atwitter. Not that it’s that difficult to put me all atwitter these days – thanks to the politicians, economy and price of a chocolate bar.

Anyway, it seems there are residents of a condo housing development in Braintree, Mass., that have a real problem (or, better yet) real problems on their feet. People aren’t picking up after their pets.

This all came to light when the contractor responsible for mowing the development’s 350-acre green space reported his mowers’ wheels were “covered” with doggy doo.

Fortunately for them, the general manager is a believer in modern science (or spends considerable time in front of the TV watching CSI shows). She has come up with the answer: DNA testing.

That’s right. The condo board now requires all dog owners to have their pooches swabbed and the results entered into a database. No only that, the owner is required to pay the $50 for the DNA sampling.

Now, when doo is detected, it becomes a crime scene of sorts. A DNA test is administered and the guilty party is…well, they didn’t really say what happens to the culprit (canine or human), but I’m sure the general manager has been doing some serious research on that aspect, too.

I must admit that it’s hard for me to understand the seriousness of dog droppings spread over a 350-acre lawn. Especially when I consider the hog confinements in the Midwest. Sure, I realize the folks living in East coast condo developments are paying dearly for the right to venture out without getting something sticky on their shoes. But doggy DNA? Seems a little overboard.

It brings to mind a time when Slick and I decided to earn enough cash to buy a crossbow. We hung around the local gas station, bugging every farmer who happened through the door.

“Don’t you have a job for two young, strong boys? We’ll do most anything for a few dollars.”

Well, a farmer finally took us up on our plea.

“Sure, I have just the kind of job you’re looking for…it’s right down your alley.”

So he took us to his farm a mile or so south of town. We followed him to the barn. He reached in a corner and pulled out two pitchforks. The farmer then lead us to a huge fenced-in area in the back of the barn.

“This is where I keep my two old work horses,” he said. “They don’t do much these days but eat and, well, you know. I want you two boys to pitch all the manure outside next to the barn. Then put down clean, fresh hay. It shouldn’t take you long.”

He was right. It didn’t take us long to figure out we didn’t need that crossbow nearly as badly as we originally thought we did. We set the pitchforks up against the wall and soon were headed north back to town. It was several weeks later before we ventured back into that gas station again.

(Ed Rood is the former publisher of the Tri-County Times. He lives near Cambridge.)

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