Also known as detection dogs, sniffer dogs have become an important ally to law enforcement agencies all over the world in carrying out their primary function, the protection of life and property. As we saw last time, the contribution that these dogs can make to human well being and quality of life goes far beyond the realms of law enforcement.
The sensitive canine nose can detect many different scents far beyond the range of the human sense of smell. The trick is to train the dog to recognise and react to the aromas given off by specific objects, substances, or by the activity of particular micro-organisms or chemical reactions. It’s the dog’s reaction that indicates to the handler that the animal has found what the handler is looking for.
In the case of law enforcement work the dogs will have been trained to react to the presence of substances such as illicit drugs, explosive materials, accelerant that have been used or are about to be used to commit arson. Firearms too can be located by the dogs, even counterfeit or illegally handled money. They are very good at finding human remains too.
The first recorded use of detection dogs seems to have been by the US Army in the 1940s in North Africa. They found that dogs could be trained to detect the presence of German mines. These first “bomb-dogs” must have saved many lives and limbs among both the soldiers and the local civilian population. Since then both the American and British Armies have continued to develop their skills at using dogs for this purpose with great success. No doubt other armed forces across the globe have done the same.
Since the end of World War II, the olfactory senses of dogs have been increasingly used to detect other things and by 1971 dogs were being used to find drugs such as marijuana, heroin and cocaine. Since then the range has expanded to include other drugs.
The use of sniffer dogs in detecting drug trafficking, arms smuggling and terrorist activity is being increasingly challenged in courts, frequently on the basis of infringement of human rights. This may be an indication of the fear of such an aid to detection felt by the criminal fraternity. Or maybe they feel that to be free to spread death and human misery is a basic human right!
In the USA the Department of Agriculture found another use for the canine nose. They found that dogs could be trained to expose the conveyance of agricultural products carrying pests and diseases across the borders into the US.
Pest control is another area where dogs can be of great assistance. Remember the bed-bug dogs? They can also detect other pest which can cause problems such as termites and wood worm. In these situations dogs can save a great deal of time and therefore money.
Trained dogs can also be a great help in medical situations too. They can detect health problems associated with diabetes, cancers, migraines and even heart attacks before they actually happen. The presence of allergens and other substances which can cause serious problems to some individuals can be sniffed out by specially trained canine assistants. Toxic moulds and peanuts are two of the commonest examples.
Peanut dust in particular can easily contaminate foods produced in factories and packing plants. Levels of contamination too minute for humans to detect can be sufficient to be life threatening to a nut allergy sufferer. A trained sniffer dog can detect it though and potentially save human life.
Article provided provided by freelance copywriter uk, Pete Hopper of Write For You (write4you.org.uk)
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|Sunday, September 26. 2021|