Drug-Sniffing Dogs Continue to Falsely Accuse

The following article first appeared in The 420 Times:

If a drug-sniffing dog “alerts” the cops to your medicine and you end up in court, remember this much: You can use science against the police. Or at least you can argue your case.

Once again research is showing that drug interdiction canines have a luke-warm record of actually finding drugs. A recent study published in the journal Forensic Science International found that dogs used to search the outside of cars only got it right 63.5 percent of the time.

That sounds like a lot — nearly two-thirds of the time — but think about it:

If you were the one behind the wheel and the dog gave a false alert you could be screwed if you had legit medicine on-board. Cops in California could investigate you for marijuana DUI, for example. And you know how THC works — it can stay in your system for days if not weeks.

Those dogs that sniffed the insides of rides fared worse, with a 57.9 percent success rate, researchers said.

Of course, once the canines “alert,” cops can dig deeper, so it’s important they’re accurate.

Researchers say they looked at “68 Labrador retrievers, 61 German shepherds, 25 Terriers and 10 English Cocker Spaniels, of both sexes” that participated in 1,219 search tests involving marijuana, hash, meth, cocaine and heroin.

The pooches were much better at this in buildings (rooms) with hidden drugs. They hit those 87.7 percent of the time, according to the study.

NORML notes that dogs can be biased in their searches, however:

In 2011, researchers at the University of California at Davis reported that the performance of drug-sniffing dogs is significantly influenced by whether or not their handlers believe illicit substances are present.

The lesson? Pack your shit up tight, surround it in coffee grounds, and stuff it deep in your trunk. Or, better yet, leave it at home.

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