When nature calls, canines tend to disregard the law, and their owners often fail to deal with the messy aftermath. The situation is particularly dire in Germany, where an estimated three million pounds of “Hundekot” are deposited daily on public property.

Now cutting-edge forensics makes it possible to trace the offending matter back to its source. A citizen commission in Dresden, Germany, has overwhelmingly recommended a scheme in which DNA samples would be collected from all dogs when their annual license came up for renewal. Within one year, a database of Dresden’s registered 12,500 canine residents would be complete. Sanitation workers would carry feces-sample kits and submit evidence to a forensics laboratory, where scientists could easily match doo to dog. The dog’s owner would then be promptly fined up to $600. Dresden’s commission targeted a break-even point at about seven months. Afterward the city stands to turn a profit.