Peggy Adams to sell DNA swab kits for the holidays

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Just in time for the holidays, the Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League is offering curious dog owners an opportunity to trace their pet's ancestry through a simple DNA testing kit.

The Wisdom Panel Insights test, which the rescue league sells for $65, can determine up to five breeds - including parents, grandparents and great-grandparents - from a database of more than 185 breeds.

The test is non-invasive, requiring just a cheek swab. Samples are sent through the mail to product manufacturer Mars Veterinary, and then returned about three weeks later with results.

"It's unique," Rich Anderson, executive director and CEO of the Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League, said of the test kit. "It comes with a couple of swabs that you scrape the inside of your dog's cheek. You mail it back, and they will match the DNA that you send in from your dog against their database. They'll come back with what they analyze to be the heritage of your dog."

The Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League is one of just 65 humane societies and rescue shelters nationwide.

The tests will make it easier for staff to provide accurate information to pet owners who choose to adopt from the shelter, Anderson said.

"We get so many mixed breed dogs at the shelter," he said. "Our staff makes its best guess to what the breed mix is. It would be helpful for potential adopters coming in. They would love to know a little bit more about what makes up the dog that they're thinking of taking home."

The shelter's harder-to-adopt dogs would benefit from the DNA testing, as potential pet owners wouldn't be scared away by a dog's perceived reputation, Anderson said.

"There are some really great dogs that are hard to place because people think they might have pit bull in them," Anderson said. "We would love to be able to get sponsors to help us pay for the testing for some of the harder-to-adopt shelter animals."

The tests are available at the shelter, 3200 N Military Trail in West Palm Beach. For more information, call (561) 686-3663.