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Killer Convicted, Using Dog DNA Database

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the what-about-concealed-dog-licenses? dept.

Crime 97

lee1 writes "It turns out that the UK has a DNA database — for dogs. And this database was recently used to apprehend a South London gang member who used his dog to catch a 16-year-old rival and hold him while he stabbed him to death. The dog was also accidentally stabbed, and left blood at the scene. The creation of human DNA databases has led to widespread debates on privacy; but what about the collation of DNA from dogs or other animals?"

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New Insult (1)

trurl7 (663880) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526498)

New political insult:

"He couldn't get elected dog DNA sequencer in this county!"

Re:New Insult (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527918)

Regardless - the existence of DNA doesn't necessarily prove guilt, just that you have a connection of some sort.

Remember that DNA evidence can also prove that you aren't guilty. At least not of that crime.

However since criminals today are aware of DNA they are sometimes trying to contaminate the scene as much as possible just to throw in a few false leads.

In Dutch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526522)

In Dutch, there is an expression which is exactly suited for this situation:

"Dat is nu toch echt van den hond zijn ballen geschraapt."

Re:In Dutch (2, Funny)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526550)

That is now of pine dog nevertheless real is play ball scraped?

Yeah, I guess that works.

Re:In Dutch (2, Informative)

BrentH (1154987) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527238)

Proper translation: "That's really scraped off of the dogs balls."
Yeah I don't know either what that means (I'm Dutch).

Re:In Dutch (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31527836)

It's Belgian Dutch (Flemish), meaning: it is far-stretched.

Re:In Dutch (1)

Racemaniac (1099281) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529434)

not in my belgian dutch (flemish)
maybe it is in your region/circle. but this is the first i hear of it

Re:In Dutch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529508)

Example of usage here [lvb.net] (second sentence).

Re:In Dutch (1)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | more than 4 years ago | (#31534218)

Far-fetched? As in, unlikely?

Masturbating Dog Killer (0)

MicahEli (627865) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526630)

The masturbating dog killer is on the loose again! He'll kill the owner but at least the dogs are happy. -- Forgetting Sarah Marshall. :)

Re:Masturbating Dog Killer (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529320)

Dangling participles can be fun.

Re:Masturbating Dog Killer (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#31531216)

At least he's not going to boldly split infinitives.

Re:Masturbating Dog Killer (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 4 years ago | (#31531688)

At least he's not going to boldly split infinitives.

I'M CAPTAIN KIRK!!! [youtube.com]

Orwellian (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526646)

I can't think of anything more Orwellian than claiming that having some number of legs is better than some other number of legs.

Re:Orwellian (1)

the_hellspawn (908071) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528818)

Yeah, what you said.

Re:Orwellian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31530316)

Absolutely.

Re:Orwellian (1)

VampireByte (447578) | more than 4 years ago | (#31530232)

How many legs does the dog have Winston?

Four

And if the Party says it's not four but five then how many?

Re:Orwellian (2, Funny)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 4 years ago | (#31531960)

Five legs good, four legs ungood!

Re:Orwellian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31592820)

THERE ARE FOUR LEGS!!!

(yeah, this could be either a Nineteen Eighty-Four reference or a Star Trek: The Next Generation reference. You choose.)

Yes, there are privacy implications (4, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526692)

Any time anyone collects detailed information about a person, his associations, or his possessions, there are privacy implications. That includes dog DNA databases, VIN databases (and tag number databases even more so), processor serial number databases, etc.

We're already so far down this slope, though, that nobody really notices it any more.

Re:Yes, there are privacy implications (1)

scheveningen (305408) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526964)

Registering a dog through its DNA may be similar to registering a weapon. The article is not clear if all dogs are registered, or just the status dogs.

Re:Yes, there are privacy implications (4, Informative)

Smauler (915644) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529560)

Not all dogs are registered - to be honest I didn't even know of this database. Unless they actually test clandestinely (perhaps at the vet's), none of the dogs I know are on the database. There have been recent proposals however about compulsary insurance for dogs, which fortunately seem to be not being put through because of their unpopularity and the coming election. Why the fuck they needed the dog's DNA anyway, is confusing. From the BBC [bbc.co.uk] :

Johnson was arrested as he fled from the scene of the murder in Larkhall Park bare-chested and covered in blood.
New technology, used for the first time, proved by a billion-to-one probability that some of the blood came from his pit bull-mastiff crossbreed dog, Tyson, which had been knifed during the attack.
The rest was shown to come from the teenage murder victim.

FFS, it doesn't take Poirot + CSI to figure this one out, does it?

Re:Yes, there are privacy implications (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529998)

When recombinant DNA leads to dogs smarter than a two year old, then at least someone will be ready.

Re:Yes, there are privacy implications (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31534288)

I'd love to have this here in Portugal for two reasons:

The first is the abandoned dogs that wander around everywhere raiding the trash cans in search of food spreading trash everywhere, and sometimes attacking people. The owners of such dogs should be given a HUGE fine and then be forced to take the dog back. Every summer, thousands of dogs are abandoned by pricks that can't be bothered to take them on holidays. Many are run over, causing car damage or even car crashes, some are killed by bigger dogs, most create gangs and go around the cities looking for food, spreading diseases and causing trouble.

Dog shit. There's dog shit everywhere. I stepped on dog shit on the sidewalks many, many times. The dog owners are mandated by law to collect the shit their dogs do, but almost nobody gives a fuck. The authorities have created public dog toilets. There are also these plastic bag dispensers everywhere where you can take a plastic bag to collect your dog shit. Nobody uses them and they get vandalised all the time. I wish the police could track the dog down and force the owner to eat the shit he left on the sidewalk.

I have nothing against dogs but if YOUR dog is a problem to others you shouldn't have one.

Interesting... (1, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526712)

Who cares about your DNA when the DNA of something you own and use in a crime can be linked to you? Forget RFID; the illuminati need to ramp up production on bio tech so that everything is traceable like this. Then your tinfoil hats and body gloves will be useless.

Re:Interesting... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526986)

Forget RFID; the illuminati need to ramp up production on bio tech so that everything is traceable like this. Then your tinfoil hats and body gloves will be useless.

That's why I've been investing in antique tinfoil hats and body gloves. Did you know that modern "tin"foil hats are actually made from aluminum? Shocking, I know.

Re:Interesting... (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528390)

Moreover, I would imagine that US courts would rule that pets and plants do not have an expectation of privacy, and thus could have their DNA harvested pretty much without your knowledge, consent, or even with a warrant.

Re:Interesting... (4, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528636)

Hey, just because MY DOG was there, doesn't mean I was there! The dog... he's still mad about getting his 'nads removed, and he's trying to frame me!

TFA doesn't mention a dog DNA database... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526726)

I've read TFA (weird I know, I'm a new Anonymous Coward here ;) and they followed the blood trail from the crime scene to where the dog and its owner where. Then they took blood samples. No mention of any dog DNA database.

Re:TFA doesn't mention a dog DNA database... (2, Funny)

lee1 (219161) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526770)

You appear to be lying. The database is mentioned in the first paragraph.I'll never trust you again, anonymous.

Re:TFA doesn't mention a dog DNA database... (2, Informative)

HalifaxRage (640242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526798)

From TFA "When both blood samples were tested by scientists using a newly set up dog DNA database they confirmed that the blood came from the same animal – Tyson. The dog was picked up later that night by police at a veterinary hospital. " Way to lose.

Re:TFA doesn't mention a dog DNA database... (1)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527056)

And again I think this is some sort of sensationalism here. Blood from dog, blood from crime scene, exactly what is the point of said DNA database? The article and this slashdot posting in general wants to make us all assume that the UK has a database which eventually will have every pet dog in the UKs DNA in it. Because well, that sounds kind of scary. In fact I think if you really look into it this database is really simply used to identify dog breed and characteristics from DNA. So they could confirm that yah, the dog at the scene from a staffie. And the dog you are looking at is a staffie. Well duh! Now they may have used some of the processes to collect the DNA to make sure the bloods were the same, but that's not quite what they want us all to think went on.

Re:TFA doesn't mention a dog DNA database... (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527922)

"Blood from dog, blood from crime scene, exactly what is the point of said DNA database?"

Elementary my dear Watson.
To identify dog owners who don't pick up the poop.

Re:TFA doesn't mention a dog DNA database... (1)

alanw (1822) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529416)

In fact I think if you really look into it this database is really simply used to identify dog breed and characteristics from DNA

Dog breed identification from a DNA sample seems to be commercially available

http://www.whatbreedismydog.co.uk/dna-test/ [whatbreedismydog.co.uk]

They claim to have all of 62 breeds identified so far.

Re:TFA doesn't mention a dog DNA database... (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#31532714)

A pit bull-mastiff crossbreed is NOT a "staffie" (Staffordshire Bull Terrier).

Just thought I'd point that out, they get the blame for too much already from idiots who can't tell the difference between a Doberman and a Dachshund.

Re:TFA doesn't mention a dog DNA database... (1)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | more than 4 years ago | (#31534240)

It is a huge problem in the UK. Most often it is pits bred with staffies, but they make them 50-80% pitbull (which is illegal but not immediately noticeable). Then on the record it says Staffordshire BT cross, and therefore the staffie gets a bad name. Its a shame, Staffies are such sweet and gentle dogs. My partner had several and they never did anything bad to her. I get the same stigmatisation because of my german shepherd, another breed which is often feared or regarded as dangerous (in the UK anyway).

TFA DEFINITELY mentions a dog DNA database... (1)

The Yuckinator (898499) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526900)

I'm not sure what article you read, but the paragraph immediately after the one about the trail of blood - yup - says "dog DNA database". If you look a little further down they say it again at least 2 more times.

During the attack Tyson was accidentally stabbed and police found a 600-yard blood trail leading from the scene. When they arrested Johnson nearby they found he was covered in blood.

When both blood samples were tested by scientists using a newly set up dog DNA database they confirmed that the blood came from the same animal – Tyson. The dog was picked up later that night by police at a veterinary hospital.

Re:TFA doesn't mention a dog DNA database... (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528730)

For someone who claims to Be New Here(TM), you are sure acting like a regular - not reading TFA, making blatant false statements, claiming to have read TFA (when it is painfully obvious you didn't), etc.

I don't think this story is very accurate (1, Interesting)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526728)

I understand British law is a bit different but in the US the blood would merely be circumstantial and wouldn't hold its own. While I do buy that it was part of the evidence that would warrant this guy as a prime suspect, there's no way you can convict on it alone. After all, the fact that the dog was stabbed could just as easily lead one to believe that this guy and his dog were actually trying to intervene in the kid being stabbed.

Re:I don't think this story is very accurate (1)

lee1 (219161) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526958)

The story did not say he was convicted based solely on the DNA evidence. In fact, it's pretty clear that he was not.

Re:I don't think this story is very accurate (1)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527208)

Find a single piece of other evidence in the article. More horrid journalism. An article to support a catchy title while not actually telling the entire story.

Re:I don't think this story is very accurate (1)

satellite17 (816105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527526)

The Times article may be terrible (I don't know, I didn't read it) but the BBC article [bbc.co.uk] mentions that he was arrested fleeing from the scene and there was at least one witness

Re:I don't think this story is very accurate (1)

lee1 (219161) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528748)

Find a single piece of other evidence in the article.

Are you serious? "dog's blood that was found both on him and at the attack site.[...]When they arrested Johnson nearby they found he was covered in blood[...]We did not have excellent ID evidence [suggesting that they had some id evidence, but did not want to rely on it excusively][...]The court heard another dog was also used in the attacks [meaning that there was testimony about the attack at the trial]

Yet another high-quality comment.

Re:I don't think this story is very accurate (1)

bangwhistle (971272) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527064)

Circumstantial evidence serves a purpose in making a case, and placing him at the scene helps show the "Opportunity" part of Means, Motive and Opportunity. If we look at the dog as "just" a weapon, than this isn't much different than finding a gun on the scene and using fingerprints to show someone handled it. Ties the suspect to the scene, though not foolproof as perhaps he could have handled the gun earlier and had it stolen. Criminal trials are about using multiple pieces of evidence to build a case. Rarely does one piece stand alone in providing proof. That said, the DNA database in this question disturbs me as it could be the proverbial "slippery slope."

Re:I don't think this story is very accurate (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31534132)

Yeah, it's sensationalist. The dog's DNA was just additional evidence.

I think the fact that witnesses came forward was probably a more prominent reason as to why the guy got sent down.

This is what happens when you use the likes of The Times though as a source and don't bother checking any others. The same story, from two different British news publications for example, we have from The Times as in tfa:

"Killer convicted using dog DNA in legal first"

Suggesting he was convicted using the dog DNA, and putting the emphasis on that. In contrast, The Guardian:

"Dog DNA used in conviction for teenager's murderer"

Which puts more of an emphasis on the fact the DNA was simply used in the conviction.

Neither story gives much detail on the rest of the trial sadly, but I guess it's because they're both focussing on the dog related part (as dogs are currently the latest think of the children target). Subtle differences in headlines though tell completely different stories. I pointed this out elsewhere the other day- the BBC used a headline along the lines of "Government climate ads exaggerated climate change", when the actual story was that only 2 out of 3 ads were found to be misleading, so a more accurate headline would've been "Majority of climate change ads vindicated" - obviously these two headlines tell completely different stories, yet the former, which gives an inaccurate impression was used.

It's typical media fact raping. This story is a bit more useful, it mentions the fact there were 3 of boys victim in the same assault, all who survived (and hence, you know, kinda make good witnesses) as well as pointing out other eyewitnesses were around:

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23816750-man-guilty-of-teenagers-weapon-dog-murder-in-south-london-park.do [thisislondon.co.uk]

Privacy nutters, some marketing advice (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526960)

On the whole, if you are trying to pursuade people that privacy is important, don't use examples like: "If you force me to have a license place on my car, then when I kill your child while I drunk drive for the 100th time, I can be caught and that would be a bad thing".

People might not be all that sympatethic.

Oh here is another one "I parked my car in front of a fire-hydrant and the firemen had to run around it, delaying them so you burned to death but they scrathed the paint, they should pay me for emotional trauma".

Learn to pick your cause. A guy who killed a child is NOT a cause for YRO. If you keep doing stuff like this, you only make yourself an easy target for ridicule.

Don't believe me? See how easily the deniers latched on to the "global warming" aspect of "global climate change" and then leap on any cold day as proof it is all a hoax.

Samething can happen to people who care about privacy "Oh look, another privacy nutter, who wants criminals to have free reign."

Show the voter why he should care about a dog DNA base. Frankly I doubt you can.

Re:Privacy nutters, some marketing advice (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527444)

Don't believe me? See how easily the deniers latched on to the "global warming" aspect of "global climate change" and then leap on any cold day as proof it is all a hoax.

I believe you have that reversed. The deniers latched on to the "global warming" aspect of "global warming" and then leaped on any cold day as proof it is all a hoax. Then the global warming advocates changed the name to "global climate change" to save face when they should have stuck to their guns and instead said "warming over long term" or something, because now the deniers latched on to the "global climate change" aspect of "global warming", and rightly state that climate change will always occur so it's a nonsense title.

Re:Privacy nutters, some marketing advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31527996)

Sure climate change may always be occurring, but the PROBLEM is when it changes too fast for Earth's species to evolve or adapt to that change. Just ask the dinosaurs. Oh, wait, do you not believe in them?

Re:Privacy nutters, some marketing advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31528182)

If it happened to the dinosaurs, tens of millions of years before humans existed, then it's an entirely natural phenomenon and not a "PROBLEM" at all. :-P

Re:Privacy nutters, some marketing advice (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529470)

Sure climate change may always be occurring, but the PROBLEM is when it changes too fast for Earth's species to evolve or adapt to that change. Just ask the dinosaurs. Oh, wait, do you not believe in them?

If it happened to the dinosaurs, tens of millions of years before humans existed, then it's an entirely natural phenomenon and not a "PROBLEM" at all. :-P

Not necessarily a human induced problem. I'd call human extinction a problem for humans.

Re:Privacy nutters, some marketing advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529764)

Whoa, talk about a leap... human induced or not, what makes you think that ANYTHING could change in the climate drastically and quickly enough (barring local supernovas, huge impact events, etc.) that would actually result in the extinction of our entire species???

Re:Privacy nutters, some marketing advice (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#31530720)

I don't care about complete extinction - if there's only 1/10 of the wheat, corn and rice we have now then it's going to be like a Mad Max movie.
Even getting away from extremes like that even small changes are not very pleasant and result in deaths.

Re:Privacy nutters, some marketing advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529648)

If it happened to the dinosaurs, tens of millions of years before humans existed, then it's an entirely natural phenomenon and not a "PROBLEM" at all. :-P

No, the problem is that it happened just a few thousand years ago, and this so-called "global warming" is a euphemism for the Apocalypse. Fire will rain from the sky, believers will be physically saved in the rapture, and the rest of you all are going to BURN!

More or less. :-)

Re:Privacy nutters, some marketing advice (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527536)

Oh here is another one "I parked my car in front of a fire-hydrant and the firemen had to run around it, delaying them so you burned to death but they scrathed the paint, they should pay me for emotional trauma".

I like the German rules for this situation. The firemen don't mind if you park your car in front of a fire-hydrant. They have these heavy fire engines, and it is heavier than your car, so your car will not _stay_ in front of the fire-hydrant for more than two seconds if they need access. Same if you block an access way, the fire engine _will_ get through undamaged. The same won't be true for your car. And nobody will pay for the damage, including your own fully comprehensive insurance.

Re:Privacy nutters, some marketing advice (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528196)

In Chicago the firemen have been known to run the big hose to the hydrant through the windows of a car, from the street over to the hydrant. They probably couldn't have pushed the car out of the way without moving a whole line of cars - and from where I've been in Germany the on-street parking is worse (way, way worse) just about everywhere.

Re:Privacy nutters, some marketing advice (1)

lars_stefan_axelsson (236283) | more than 4 years ago | (#31533974)

I like the German rules for this situation.

I like the Swedish rule for this situation, where the fire hydrant is actually in the street, below a man hole cover. The only thing at the side of the road is a sign pointing to it (so that I can be found under e.g. snow). If you were to block one by parking over it, then the fire department would be the least of your worries.

Re:Privacy nutters, some marketing advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529406)

Everyone is a potential criminal, an accident is now criminal, so why dont we just lock everyone up in advance. That way there will be no crime ever again.....

Re:Privacy nutters, some marketing advice (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#31531158)

Learn to pick your cause. A guy who killed a child is NOT a cause for YRO.

Yes, but it's a post from timmeh - and you know how much he hates the UK, because we're free.

Re:Privacy nutters, some marketing advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31533952)

You talk about latching on to evocative arguments. In your example it's a child killed, because it's sooooo much worse to kill a child than an adult. Hypocrite?

Database? Not really (3, Informative)

alanw (1822) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527044)

It's a just a clueless journalist misusing the word database.

This BBC report [bbc.co.uk] doesn't mention the word at all. There is no central registry of dog DNA samples. It's just the first time that DNA matching, between a sample of blood found at the crime scene and a sample taken from the dog belonging to a suspect caught nearby has been used in a UK court.

Re:Database? Not really (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527330)

That the BBC report doesn't mention a database doesn't mean that there isn't a database. It's pretty vague about what testing was done, exactly. You assume that they just profiled the DNA from the two samples and compared them to one another, but the BBC article doesn't actually say that.

TFA is less vague, which you interpret to mean it's wrong but which I interpret to mean perhaps they referred to sources other than just the BBC report.

Re:Database? Not really (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527620)

It's a database with one row.

Re:Database? Not really (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527940)

Citation needed.

Re:Database? Not really (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528198)

[Citation] [slashdot.org]

Re:Database? Not really (1)

alanw (1822) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528084)

A week ago the UK government published a proposal [defra.gov.uk] for further controlling dangerous dogs. Mention is made of compulsory insurance, microchipping and a database of owner's details, but there is no mention at all of a DNA database, even a proposed one.

Re:Database? Not really (3, Informative)

lee1 (219161) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528034)

Before accusing the journalist of being clueless, try reading beyond the first few paragraphs. 'Detective Chief Inspector Mick Norman, who led the investigation, told The Times: "It was vitally important that we could put Johnson at the scene of the attack. We did not have excellent ID evidence and using the dog DNA database forensically unequivocally placed Johnson at the scene of the murder." The new dog DNA database came online just two-months before the murder in April last year, enabling statistical analysis to be given on samples for the first time...'

Re:Database? Not really (1)

alanw (1822) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528284)

It's still misuse of the word database. I would hope that Slashdotters would appreciate the difference between a related collection of tables stored on a computer and a forensic laboratory procedure for measuring the correlation between two DNA sequences. As somebody joked earlier, if one row and two columns make a database, then I'll have to stop disparaging Excel.

Re:Database? Not really (1)

lee1 (219161) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528588)

It's still misuse of the word database

Not in the least. It is clear that there is a central database, and not just a laboratory comparison between two samples gathered as evidence. Is it really less painful to keep repeating your mistake rather than just owning up to it?

Re:Database? Not really (1)

alanw (1822) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529274)

It is clear that there is a central database, and not just a laboratory comparison between two samples gathered as evidence.

I can find no other evidence of such a database. Can you provide any?

Re:Database? Not really (1)

alanw (1822) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529550)

I can find no other evidence of such a database. Can you provide any?

I've just found a UK Member of Parliament's web site that mentions such a database: go to
http://www.gregknight.com/ [gregknight.com] and then select Press (which redirects to a home directory on an IP address, which is why I'm not posting the direct link), then scroll down to 1st April 2009.

See also http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/greg_knight/east_yorkshire [theyworkforyou.com] to confirm that his web site is genuine.

Re:Database? Not really (1)

lunacris (861985) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529810)

then scroll down to 1st April 2009

As the date suggests, it's an April fool.

Re:Database? Not really (1)

Simmeh (1320813) | more than 4 years ago | (#31530170)

very clearly an April fool too.
"A spokesman for the European Civil Service, who are backing the scheme said: "East Riding dogs failing to be submitted for the swab tests within the next 12 months will be liable to immediate incarceration in a new UK-wide 'super-pound' which will house over 2 million dogs from across the EU." It is to be constructed at Great Kelk in East Yorkshire. A spokesperson for the plan, dubbed the 'Doggy Bank' said that every one of the East Riding's 98,367 dogs would have to be presented before 1st April 2010 to, Miss Avril Fou, the recently-appointed French-born DNA warden, at the Great Kelk pound for a mouth swab and fur sample."

Re:Database? Not really (1)

lee1 (219161) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529962)

I hadn't bothered to go beyond the article I linked in the summary. Interesting find, especially under the circumstances.

Re:Database? Not really (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529122)

if one row and two columns make a database, then I'll have to stop disparaging Excel.

It might stop you, but it wont stop me! (Try processing dates or times with Excel!)

Re:Database? Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31531970)

I'm guessing you last admitted a mistake in about 1987 or so. First you jump to the conclusion that they simply matched the same with the suspect's dog, then switched to weaseling about the definition of a database.

Dog? I raise you an oak leaf! (5, Interesting)

Wdi (142463) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527252)

http://www.jurablogs.com/de/wenn-ein-eichenblatt-den-moerder-ueberfuehrt (sorry, no English version, use Google Translation)

In 2004, a killer was convicted in Germany. The corpse of his wife had been found in a forest, buried beneath an oak tree. He claimed he was innocent and that had never even been in that area.

Unfortunately for him, a dried leaf of an oak tree was found in the trunk of his car - and DNA analysis proved it was from the very oak tree the corpse was buried under. Plants have DNA, too.

Oops.

Re:Dog? I raise you an oak leaf! (2, Insightful)

pclminion (145572) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528702)

Clearly this was a violation of the tree's rights and I demand reparation immediately!

This story is so ridiculous it makes me cry. Oh no, a murderer got caught because he left evidence at a crime scene. That sounds... just about right to me. It's one thing when we are building databases of human DNA collected from people who have committed no crimes -- a person cannot choose to not have DNA, so this is a serious ethical and human rights issue. But what I see here is that this guy idiotically left physical evidence at the crime scene and this evidence ended up convicting him. Unless you're willing to claim that dogs have some kind of inherent right not to have their DNA cataloged, I don't see the problem here.

Re:Dog? I raise you an oak leaf! (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529070)

If there were actually a dog DNA database it would be further violation of the right to be left alone. Look at guns which are clearly protected by the US Constitution: requiring them to be registered makes it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to obtain them, forces them to pay a fee, and gives the government an excuse to selectively deny registration. Having to register your dog's DNA would be a pain in the ass, and if your dog was mixed-breed you'd further have to petition the almighty bureaucracy to let you keep if "dangerous and subversive pit-bull DNA" was detected.

Re:Dog? I raise you an oak leaf! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529346)

Thats not a real story. Thats from an episode of CSI.

Re:Dog? I raise you an oak leaf! (1)

rarel (697734) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529770)

Unfortunately for him, a dried leaf of an oak tree was found in the trunk of his car - and DNA analysis proved it was from the very oak tree the corpse was buried under. Plants have DNA, too.

CSI: Stuttgart
"The DNA matches the dried leaf, Herr Kommissar!"
"Ach soo, we have found... *puts sunglasses*... the roof of the matter."

YEEAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Re:Dog? I raise you an oak leaf! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31530134)

epic typo fail

Re:Dog? I raise you an oak leaf! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529870)

I recall a similar case from an episode of "The Forensic Detectives" or "The FBI Files" on The Discovery Channel (that is, reconstructions of actual crimes with some names changed but the actual investigators interviewed). In it, a prostitute had been found dead under a palo verde tree. Witnesses could testify that they had seen her enter a pickup truck and the police managed to track down the man whose truck it was but he only confessed to using the prostitute's services that night. However, they spotted a bean from a palo verde tree in the back of the truck (thus in plain sight and no search warrant needed) and then got the idea to try to match that bean with the tree under which the body was found. The police then contacted various universities asking for help with extracting the DNA since their labs were only used to human DNA and as it was said in the episode, the biology professors that eventually assisted, were even excited to be part of a detective story. The bean matched the tree and thus his truck could be placed at the scene of the crime, which resulted in a conviction.

Re:Dog? I raise you an oak leaf! (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 4 years ago | (#31530540)

Oak leaf? Childs play! I'll raise you microscopic algae! Diatoms have been used in more than one case in the US to convict murderers and were even see as a plot line in Dexter! (after being the lead story for an episode of Forensic Files on Court TV)

Re:Dog? I raise you an oak leaf! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31533186)

Does anyone else think that DNA evidence makes it even *easier* to frame someone for a crime? I mean, pick up a leaf while you're burying your neighbour's wife, then put it in the trunk of his car. Take some blood while you're at it; it's probably splashed all over the crime scene where you stabbed her 37 times with a rusty kn... uh, never mind.

Re:Dog? I raise you an oak leaf! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31535654)

Let's hope that oak wasn't part of a clonal colony: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clonal_colony

My cats require privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31527296)

My cats won't use the litter box until I turn my back to them.

e4! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31528266)

your spare ti8e been the best, another folder. 20 Software lawyers members' creative

So here's the question... (2, Informative)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528318)

I've seen at least one post asserting that there is no database. Based on the facts presented in the story, I can see why a scientific mind might be inclined to conclude this: no database would be necessary to do what was done in this case. I think that's at best inconclusive; let's take a closer look...

They wanted to link this guy to the crime scene. They already had him near the crmie scene. With limited identification from witnesses, that's at best only a start...

They had blood on him, and the relevant use of DNA technology was in showing that this blood matched the blood from the crime scene. They could tell there was both human and dog blood; this doesn't require a database. They could tell that the human DNA on the suspect matched the victim's blood; combined with the other facts, that might be enough to put him at the scene, and it doesn't require a database. If they needed more evidence, they could tell that the dog blood from both samples came from a single animal; again, there should be no need for a database.

I'm not sure what identifying the animal from which the dog blood originated adds to that. ("Wellll, he was covered in the victim's blood and blood from an animal that was at the crime scene, but that doesn't tell us anything... Oh, wait - he also owned the animal in question? Well, then!" If that's the reasoning, I guess the message is "if you're going to use a dog as a weapon, use someone else's dog".) But even then, no need for a database to match the blood sample to the dog since you have access to the dog you suspect it will match.

So I don't doubt that a database exists and was used; but I suspect its use and the subsequent publicity have more to do with someone's political agenda (make DNA databases look like useful tools) and less to do with real investigative techniques or real science.

Re:So here's the question... (1)

ascari (1400977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31532022)

if you're going to use a dog as a weapon, use someone else's dog

Thank goodness that dogs are notoriously difficult to clone. When people start using sheep as weapons we're suddenly all suspects.

Shades of Blade Runner (1)

GuyFawkes (729054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528568)

not quite there yet, but it's another step along the way...

still, at least we will have computers that are voice controlled and capable of infinite zoom into a photo.. oh, and hot femmbots

What do I think? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528576)

When I see a dog objecting to the invasion of his privacy, either in writing or verbally, then they should expunge that dog's DNA records. Until that time, it's fair game. As a side note, how do I go about training my dog to hold people while I stab them to death?

Let's See (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528606)

Well, let's see. As our guest we have Mr. Sniggles, a very opinionated 7 year old terrier-poodle cross.

Q: Mr. Sniggles, what do you feel about the collection of your DNA.

A: Grrrr-rufff!!!

Q: It's that intrusive, eh? But don't you feel that in the greater interests of fighting crime, not to mention the very limited rights that pets have, it's hard to object to it?

A: Ruff ruff ruff!!!!

Q: I guess I can see where you're coming from. But that bit about Richard Nixon seems very offtopic.

A: Grrrrrrrr...

Q: No, I don't think I'd like a tape recorder stuck up there. But seriously, Mr. Sniggles. If we catch the bad guys, surely a sacrifice of some liberties seems a reasonable tradeoff.

A: Ruff ruff rrrrr.

Q: Yes, I know what Benjamin Franklin said, but ol' Franklin didn't have to live in a world filled with drug lords, terrorists and pedophiles.

A: Ruff ruff ruff!

Q: Clearly we're at an impasse here. And as you are my dog, I can take your damned DNA any time I damned well please.

A: Grrrrr....

Q: What was that about Frederick Douglass.

Law and Order: SVU (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529298)

Is that the leg he humped? Have CSI take a swab of it and we'll check the database.

article doesn't make sense. (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 4 years ago | (#31530182)

During the attack Tyson was accidentally stabbed and police found a 600-yard blood trail leading from the scene. When they arrested Johnson nearby they found he was covered in blood.

Detectives said that not only was it the first time a status dog had been used in the course of a killing but it was also the first case of its kind where they could use dog DNA to prove a one in a billion match to Tyson – and link his owner to the murder scene.

Detective Chief Inspector Mick Norman, who led the investigation, told The Times: “It was vitally important that we could put Johnson at the scene of the attack. We did not have excellent ID evidence and using the dog DNA database forensically unequivocally placed Johnson at the scene of the murder.”

So your saying, finding the murder, johnson, covered with the victims blood wasn't enough evidence? While I'm sure they want an air tight case, really, what else they want, Johnson putting a youtube video of it up?

What's that quote from Heavy Rain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31530380)

Something like: "The FBI doesn't keep files on dead cats... not yet." - is that right?

what? (1)

jdc18 (1654245) | more than 4 years ago | (#31532728)

I dont know why i even bothered to click on this article.
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