Animal shelter benefit: cut-price mutt DNA tests

People who want to know their mutts’ family background can get reduced-price DNA tests to benefit the Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter.

“Who’s Your Daddy?” is part of Pet Fest 2012, scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 18 at Lafreniere Park in Metairie.

Veterinarians caution that DNA tests on mutts are for entertainment, not for diagnostic purposes.

Pet Fest is organized by a Metairie doggy day-care called Central Bark New Orleans. Owner Holly Valenti says the shelter will get $10 from each $50 cheek swab. The manufacturer sells the test online for $75; one national pet chain offers it for $65 and another for $90.

Valenti said Mars Veterinary gave her a reduced rate because she certified that proceeds will go to a nonprofit. She’s paying $40 each.

She was buying 50 to start with, but will order more if there’s enough interest.

People must pay in advance by credit card. There won’t be refunds for those who can’t get to the Lafreniere Park, but Valenti said there will be a makeup date at her franchise.

The tests check for more than 190 breeds. Some veterinarians offer a more expensive test from the same company. It checks for more than 235 breeds.

The test had mixed online reviews from people who bought it from the two pet store chains.