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April 2014

Venice seeks volunteer DNA sniffer dogs

Maggie sniffs DNA in Venice

ABOVE: Maggie demonstrates her close-range DNA sniffing skills.

Now that residents of Venice and the Veneto have voted unofficially to secede from Italy, regional authorities are looking for ways to identify true Venetians so that Italian loyalists from out of town won't be able to rig the results of any legally-binding referendum on secession and reinstitution of the Venetian Republic.

So far, the most popular proposal has been to train volunteer "sniffer dogs" in DNA detection through nasal scanning. 

In the photo above, Maggie shows how the process will work:

  • When a referendum voter attempts to enter a polling place, a trained sniffer dog will collect a sample of the person's DNA nasally. (For reliability, two samples will be collected, one with each nostril.)

  • The dog's brain will then process the DNA data and compare the result with a chart of known DNA signatures from Venetian families. If a match occurs, the prospective voter will be allowed to enter the polling place. If not, he or she will be exposed as a tourist and offered a discount voucher at local souvenir shops.

No official referendum on independence has been scheduled, so the current DNA-collection plan is merely a pilot project. Still, the city authorities are hoping to recruit a core group of canine volunteers in anticipation of future needs.