The Salt Lake Tribune:
Pet Poop Perp Tracking
The latest hurdle tripping up Utah renters may seem like a strange one: Before they can move in, many are being required by landlords to get — and pay for — DNA tests for their pets.
Most renters with a cat or dog are used to paying largely nonrefundable pet deposits and additional monthly fees when seeking housing with animals. But as the latest addition to the list adds yet another complication, pet owners are warning others to beware of the potential unexpected cost.
The DNA tests are not being used to identify a dog’s breed, as you might
expect — though some property management companies won’t accept breeds that are deemed too aggressive, such as pit bulls, for liability reasons.
Instead, landlords use the tests essentially the same way detectives do — when an animal poops on the lawn or in common areas, DNA can identify the offender and the owner who didn’t pick it up.
Tenants here have been charged as much as $65, according to personal accounts that renters shared with The Salt Lake Tribune, to have their cat’s or dog’s cheek swabbed during the application process — and a few who did so didn’t even end up being approved for the unit.
And once you move in, you could be charged a hefty fine if a maintenance worker finds your pet’s waste and sends it to a lab for testing. If it’s confirmed to be from your animal, some Utahns have reported, you may be charged as much at $150 for not properly disposing of it.
Paul Smith, executive director of Utah Apartment Association, said pet DNA testing is becoming common in Utah and that the majority of large apartment complexes have adopted the practice.