The Bristol County Sheriff’s Office is proud to announce that their department has a new scope of practice. They just swore in “the first law enforcement K9s in the country trained to detect COVID-19.” Dogs have been man’s best friend since the dawn of time, domesticated because of their intelligence, loyalty and skills that humans don’t have.
K9s to detect COVID
Police departments have long relied on canine cops to find missing people. Every day they go out on the job find things like dangerous drugs, firearms, ammunition, and explosives.
In Bristol County, Massachusetts, as of Thursday, “Huntah and Duke are the first law enforcement K9s in the country trained to detect COVID-19.” They celebrated their graduation with a small ceremony.
They paired “Huntah” up with Captain Paul Douglas. She’s a “nine-month-old female black lab” and they’re assuring everyone that the spelling is intentional. “Huntah, that’s Hunter with a Boston accent.”
They don’t want her getting mixed up with the demon-seed offspring of Joe Biden. Duke will ride along with Officer Theodore Santos, the department notes. He’s a “nine-month-old golden lab/retriever mix.” The K9s are “actually step-siblings, born two weeks apart with the same father and different mothers.”
Both dogs received their training as police K9s “through a program developed by Florida International University’s International Forensic Research Institute.” They learned to sniff out COVID the same way dogs are trained to detect “fungus in crops.”
Along with it’s designer genes, COVID picked up a “unique odor.” FIU supplied “COVID-positive masks” for the training odors. Of course, nobody wants to put such highly trained animals in harms way, so “an ultraviolet system was used on the masks, which kills the contagious portion but leaves the scent, making it safe for the dogs and officers to train with.” In the field they will be working with the live virus though.
A good line of defense
The Sheriff’s office explains that their specially trained K9s aren’t meant to stand in for things like COVID testing but “these kinds of dogs could be a good line of defense at places like airports, concerts, and sporting events.”
They not only detect infected people, they also “detect the COVID odor on everyday items touched or used by someone with the virus.”
One of the ways they expect to use the pair of special K9s is to ensure that areas have been completely decontaminated after exposure. “It’s best to think of it as a decontamination tool,” Captain Douglas points out.
“The dogs can detect the COVID odor on a counter or table if it was recently touched by a COVID-positive individual, or even detect the odor on a tissue used by someone with COVID.”
Along with their specialized COVID detection duties, both Huntah and Duke will be “trained in locating missing people.”
The BCSO tells the local officials their specialized K9s are “available to schools, town buildings, non-profits, nursing homes, Councils on Aging, public safety facilities, medical facilities and more.” Just send them a request letter.