BioPet's gold mine: Doggy DNA

A startup uses science to catch pooper-scooper scofflaws.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)

dog_barking_howling.ce.03.jpg

(Fortune Small Business) -- If Tom Boyd gets his way, pet owners may soon feel like actors in an episode of CSI: Pooch.

His Knoxville company, BioPet Vet Lab, developed a DNA-based system to help apartment managers and town administrators catch miscreants who ignore pooper-scooper rules. The system, called PooPrints, collects saliva swabs from every dog in a participating area and registers the DNA in a central database. When residents find dog droppings, they mail them to BioPet. Technicians then match the DNA to reveal the offending owner. Boyd, 71, charges $29.95 for each pet he enrolls and $49.95 per poop test.

"There's a major problem with dog crap, especially where kids play," he says. "It's a health hazard."

At least one property manager is skeptical. Mary Gwyn, founder and co-owner of Apartment Dynamics, a High Point, N.C. company that manages eight apartment complexes with a total of 916 units, argues that poop testing is a hard sell in a weak economy and could create an adversarial relationship between landlords and tenants.

"A more viable market would be high-end condo or homeowner associations," she says. "Because their occupants are owners, they don't have to worry as much about policies that cause residents not to want to live there."

Pet DNA products are big business. Since Boyd launched BioPet in March 2008, he has released three new products in addition to the poop test: a proof of parentage test; a genetic ID kit, which lets owners register a pet DNA sample for proof of ownership; and a breed identification test that reveals every single breed in your mutt's family tree. Boyd expects to sell about 600,000 of these DNA test products this year, for sales of $18 million to $20 million.

"The DNA Breed Identification test kit is probably one of the best single items I've ever added," says Curt Olvey, president of UTM Distributing, a Cincinnati pet supply wholesaler that sold 2,580 kits in six months. "People regard their pets as family."  To top of page

To write a note to the editor about this article, click here.




QMy dream is to launch my own business someday. Now that it's time to choose a major, I'm debating if I should major in entrepreneurial studies or major in engineering to acquire a set of skills first. Is majoring in entrepreneurship a good choice? More
Get Answer
- Spate, Orange, Calif.

More Galleries
Some Converse copycats cost big bucks A few bargain brands got swept up in Chuck Taylor's net, but others cost a pretty penny. More
Urban infrastructure gets a second life Railroad beds become parks, power plants become aquariums and slaughterhouses are now art centers as an industrial past turns people-centric. More
Boomtown moms From working mothers raising their kids in RVs to stay-at-home moms who spend their days organizing events for the Oil Wives club, meet the moms of North Dakota's oil boom. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.