Guest post: Max in defence of sniffer dogs

From Max the sniffer dog
Normally I don’t read Greg Barnes’ musings. They are about as useful as those deposits we dogs like to have our human companions clean up. But his latest effort is below the collar and unwarranted.
We enforce the law. If Barnes doesn’t like a ban on cannabis and party drugs he should contact his local MP. But these drugs are illegal and sniffer dogs are an integral part of the enforcement of those laws.
Do you hear of sniffer dogs going on strike? Do we campaign for higher pay? Do we complain about our work?
No, sniffer dogs are dedicated, happy, effective and productive.
Julia Gillard would do well to employ dogs as media advisers – if she had employed a dog rather than Tony Hodges the Australia Day riot would not have occurred and she would have saved a lot of taxpayers’ money on the considerably lower pay a dog would accept. Moreover, dogs are very effective at shaping opinions and leading people around. Imagine how much more effective Julia would be if her office comprised a pack of dogs – german shepherds, beagles, golden retrievers etc. They would see off any Kevin Rudd challenge!
We sniffer dogs are highly trained and efficient at our jobs. We can help detect cancer. We are able to detect explosives, illegal (and legal) drugs, help find bodies, and even solve murder cases. We can find termites and hunt for truffles.
Barnes says that there are too many false positives – but that is the nature of sniffing. As noted in a NSW report, the initial detection is followed by a police check which either confirms or fails to find the drugs which we have detected. No one gets arrested purely on a dog’s initial sniff. Sometimes we find legal drugs, hence some of the false positives. As noted in the report, 9.7 kg of cannabis was detected by dogs during the review period. Also, as noted in the report, NSW Police estimate an accuracy rate of 70 per cent when taking into account admissions by those found of prior contact with illegal drugs (but not in their possession).
Again, if Barnes thinks cannabis should be legal, he should campaign for a change in the law. But don’t attack us sniffer dogs who are dedicated and effective at our work.
For tens of thousands of years dogs have proven to be mans’ best friend and will be so in the future. All we want is some affection, food and the occasional pat. Is that too much to ask?

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25 Responses to Guest post: Max in defence of sniffer dogs

  1. Infidel Tiger

    WTF?
    Are we also down with random body cavity searches?
    Get a freaking grip you fascist hound.

  2. Don

    Why risk missing out on any dangerous smokers with an inefficient animal.
    Why not blood tests door to door or maybe on entry to the Opera, football and cinemas.
    9kilos of cannabis – wow – I feel safer now. All those dangerous criminals off the street and into the legal system.

  3. Barnes doesn’t attack sniffer dogs per se. He attacks the use of them at music festivals.
    It’s a fair point. There is mass disobedience of recreational drug prohibition laws and the police have no chance of imposing compliance on festival attendees. Sniffer dogs merely cause more alienation of the police from the public.

  4. .

    Also, as noted in the report, NSW Police estimate an accuracy rate of 70 per cent when taking into account admissions by those found of prior contact with illegal drugs (but not in their possession).

    What is the real rate? I feel the relaxing of a certain cultural taboo coming on…

  5. Fred Bassett

    AS a born and bred smell hound myself I feel Barnes raises an important point. I love my job, protecting my fellow hounds and their humans. I’m perfectly happy sniffing through carousels of luggage for explosives with my handler – to me the smell of plastic explosive is as satisfying as the scent of that horny little French number next door when she’s on cycle. I love working with my humans and generally humans seem to appreciate my work.
    But when I’m put into music festival the situation becomes difficult. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid of confrontation, just so long as we’re on even terms if you know what I mean. I’ll give as good as I get. But in those situations i”m expected to behave around other people who don’t want me there. In fact some of them are downright angry about it. If I bite I get in trouble, but I don’t feel confident about approaching half the people I’m expected to sniff. Furthermore, there are a small minority of bigoted types who just don’t like my breed full stop.
    I think this hostility occurs because, unlike the luggage carousel, a successful ‘find’ by me is not likely to save lives. It’s just likely to put a one of those young humans in jail or give them a criminal record. And, of course, on the luggage carousel I don’t have to deal with humans directly, especially the ones that don’t want to deal with me.
    We’ve got a long history with the humans, but it works because we’re only brought together when it’s positive for both of us. Some of these things don’t fit that bill and I think, like cats, we’d be better off without them.

  6. John Mc

    AS a born and bred smell hound myself I feel Barnes raises an important point. I love my job, protecting my fellow hounds and their humans. I’m perfectly happy sniffing through carousels of luggage for explosives with my handler – to me the smell of plastic explosive is as satisfying as the scent of that horny little French number next door when she’s on cycle. I love working with my humans and generally humans seem to appreciate my work.
    But I’m put into music festival the situation becomes difficult. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid of confrontation, just so long as we’re on even terms if you know what I mean. I’ll give as good as I get. But in those situations i”m expected to behave around other people who don’t want me there. In fact some of them are downright angry about it. If I bite I get in trouble, but I don’t feel confident about approaching half the people I’m expected to sniff. Furthermore, there are a small minority of people who just don’t like dogs full stop.
    I think this hostility occurs because, unlike the luggage carousel, a successful ‘find’ by me is not likely to save lives. It’s just likely to put a one of those young humans in jail or give them a criminal record. And, of course, on the luggage carousel I don’t have to deal with humans directly, especially the ones that don’t want to deal with me.
    We’ve got a long history with the humans, but it works because we’re only brought together when it’s positive for both of us. Some of these things don’t fit that bill and I think, like cats, we’d be better off without them.

  7. C.L.

    The principle that should be operative in these and comparable circumstances should be reasonable cause. Sniffer dogs and RBTs should be banned. They constitute police state interference with citizens without basis or justification.

  8. Infidel Tiger

    Sniffer dogs merely cause more alienation of the police from the public.

    They’re also likely to cause overdoses as kiddies ingest their whole stash rather than get caught. Makes for a good start to the gig, but a shame to waste your pingers on inferior warm up acts.

  9. TerjeP

    Greg Barnes is right and Max the sniffer dog is wrong.

  10. Grrrr…. @s_dog thinks BDO drug-sniffers have some nerve conflating what they do (pissing all over whatever Australia’s equivalent of the fourth amendment would be) with IED-sniffing wardogs. Or even termite sniffers, cancer sniffers, truffle sniffers, rabbit hounds, bloodhounds, etc.
    My advice to Max: it’s never too late to retrain so that you might actually make a positive contribution to humankind. But prompting the strip search of a young Australian who is, on the balance of probabilities, breaking no law at a concert is not the equivalent of helping clear a road of IEDs or tracking down a lost child, no matter how much you wish it might be so.

  11. C.L.

    Spot versus Max!
    GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.
    Don’t let his loveable appearance fool you, Max, you Berghof bitza.

  12. brc

    I agree with the gist of the article – don’t blame the dog for being used to enforce the laws.
    Time to take a good hard look at the laws rather than singling out the dogs.

  13. Infidel Tiger

    “Ze dogs were just following ze orders.”

  14. badm0f0

    Sniffer dogs and RBTs should be banned. They constitute police state interference with citizens without basis or justification.

    Driving isn’t an unconditional right & drink driving has potential for far greater harm beyond the individual engaging in it so I don’t have a big problem with RBTs. Last time I checked you didn’t need a license to go to a music festival though because the main public hazards were bad dancing & glow sticks.

  15. C.L.

    Living in peace in your own home isn’t an unconditional right either, you goose. You could be committing any number of offences and, indeed, we know that at one time people are indeed doing so.
    So why not random house raids?
    The only reason RBTs were introduced is that most drivers over the limit do not in fact do anything discernibly illegal. When and if they do, they can and should be stopped. But police should have no right whatsoever to detain people without reason.

  16. badm0f0

    Living in peace in your own home isn’t an unconditional right either, you goose. You could be committing any number of offences and, indeed, we know that at one time people are indeed doing so.

    Aside from the fact you are comparing apples and oranges numpty, yes you largely do have an unconditional right to live peacefully in your home. The circumstances in which which would permit the state to prevent you from doing so (even at gunpoint in said home) generally fall outside the definition of “peacefully”.

  17. C.L.

    …yes you largely do have an unconditional right to live peacefully in your home.

    Right. But why not inaugurate random house raids just to get all those child abusers, domestic violence perpetrators, drug takers, underage drinkers etc?
    We know they’re there, right?

  18. John Mc

    Aside from the fact you are comparing apples and oranges numpty,
    Not really, there’s a very clear link. You either have probable cause or you’re doing a random search.

  19. C.L.

    RBTs occur without probable cause and constitute detention without cause, without charge.
    They should never have been permitted.

  20. John Mc

    I guess that’s why they’ve got the word ‘Random’ in the title.
    At least they’re honest about what they’re doing.

  21. jjohn malpas

    would you want your daughter to own a sniffer dog?

  22. wreckage

    You do not have any right whatsoever to operate hazardous machinery whilst under the influence of any drug.
    Pretty bloody simple.

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