THE owner of a bull terrier in the Valencian town of Paterna received a nasty surprise when she received a fine of €500 for failing to pick up the poop dropped by her dog during a holiday to a resort some 650km across Spain.

The woman, who has not been named, was traced thanks to a scheme by Benalmadena council to deter irresponsible dog owners and fine them for failing to clear up after their pets.

The Costa del Sol resort town used ‘poo dectectives’ to analyse deposits discarded on the pavements and match them to DNA stored on a database of registered pets.

In the latest case, they cross-checked DNA databases across Spain to find match for a dropping that was left on the street at the height of the holiday season in August.

Benalmadena initiated a pet DNA database scheme five years ago, not only to trace those who didn’t clear up after their pets but also as a way to identify owners in case of loss, abandonment or animal abuse.

But Paterna only introduced a DNA database for registered pets in September which is why it took so long for the match to be found.

More than 20 councils across Spain now have DNA bases up and running which can be cross checked from anywhere in Spain.

In some places, such as Malaga city, registering a dog on the DNA database is compulsory and costs €35.

The issue of dog poo is one that has vexed town councils across Spain.

Various schemes have been attempted, with the Madrid town of Brunete pioneering a project that saw excrement left in the streets collected and mailed back to the pet owner’s home.

While the Basque town of Hernani hired specialist pet detectives to track down culprits.

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