However much you love your mutt, it's not nice having to clean up after it. With a little plastic bag keeping you mere microns from fully coming into contact with its rear-end waste, you've still got to come to terms with that squishy, smelly mess between your fingers.
Getting away with leaving your doggy's doo-doo behind is about to get significantly more difficult for dog owners in East London however, as DNA testing is being introduced to identify which poop belongs to which animal and, by extension, helping to track down the owners responsible.
Fittingly kicking off in Barking and Dagenham, the system requires a specific parameter to be met before it can be effective. Firstly, the offending dog has to be DNA registered, which few pooches are. It's simple bio-data to capture, simply needing a swab from inside the dog's mouth to be collected. Council chiefs are hoping that DNA records will be rolled in as part of the legal requirement to have all dogs microchipped by 2016 however, which is when the pilot scheme is expected to start.
If it all sounds a bit extreme, a quick look at the numbers soon explains the council's reasoning. The town hall currently has to put aside £2.3 million a year to clean up dog mess, while offending owners that are caught are worth £80 in fines. Considering comparable efforts in the US have seen dog mess reduced by as much as 90 per cent, it's not as outlandish as it seems. You'll be able to walk with your head held high, safe in the knowledge that your fresh white trainers will remain unsoiled. [Standard]