WATCH | Americans have many problems. And dog poop is one of them.
Meet: "Mr. Dog Poop"
Mark Guarino is the founder of Mr. Dog Poop, Inc. He's one of several entrepreneurs looking to tame America's dog poop problem.
Mr. Dog Poop is part of a growing dog waste management industry. The startup specializes in DNA testing, specifically dog waste DNA testing.
"Plenty of business can be very volatile. Industry changes, money changes, the economy changes," Guarino told Circa.
"The one thing we all know for sure is that tomorrow, millions of dogs are going to walk out their door and poop," he added.
Think of it like a canine crime lab
Mr. Dog Poop analyzes the DNA in dog waste to help property owners and homeowner associations catch residents who don't pick up after their pets.
How does it work? When a new four-legged resident moves into a partner complex, it's subjected to a DNA swab. Mr. Dog Poop charges complexes $35 to register each dog and $50 for samples that result in a match.
It's up to each property manager to decide what penalties negligent dog owners face.
Guarino, who has bootstrapped the entire venture and invested about half a million dollars to get the company off the ground, says poop isn't so much what's lucrative about the business. "We don't make our money on the poop," he explained. "We make the money on the swabs."
As of right now, the company has expanded its footprint to 32 states.
According to the ASPCA, there are as many as 80 million dogs in the U.S. and approximately 47 percent of American households have a pet dog.
For the record, the ASPCA recommends taking a bag or something when you walk your dog to pick up its poop, and then to dispose of it. But given the growth of the dog waste management market, that's clearly not happening.
What's more, a Consumer Reports Magazine survey from 2010 revealed that for Americans, dog poop is among their top six complaints.
Besides the health hazards that dog waste can contain -- like fecal bacteria carrying salmonella and parasites like hookworms -- areas with abundant dog poop tend to have rodent infestations, according to Poo Prints.
On the look out for dog waste
The University of California at Davis' Veterinary Genetics Lab was first to pioneer this type of DNA analysis.
Meanwhile, commercial interest is booming. Poo Prints, which is a division of BioPet Vet Lab, is another company that provides commercial dog poop DNA services. The Knoxville, Tenn.-based company came on the scene in 2011 and boasts 2,000-plus clients.
In the year since Mr. Dog Poop launched its DNA solutions, it has partnered with 150 clients.