After eight years on the job, Australia’s last mainland beagle sniffer dog is hanging up his lead and heading into well-earned retirement.
Andy the beagle, who single-nosedly detected about 2.3 tonnes of biosecurity risk material over a career which took him across Australia, will return to Sydney to live with his original handler.
Andy, who just celebrated his tenth birthday, spent six years working as a detector dog at Sydney International Airport as well as stints at Coolangatta and the Gold Coast before making a final transfer to Adelaide. Most recently he has been working with the Primary Industries and Regions SA on their fruit fly campaign.
Andy’s career numbers after eight years earned him high praise among handlers:
- 2.3 tonnes of biosecurity risk material confiscated.
- 718kg of undeclared fruit and fresh vegetables.
- 432kg of meat including dried organs.
- 8.9kg of viable seeds and live plants.
- 128 travellers issued infringement notices as a result of Andy’s keen nose.
Andy’s Adelaide handlers were sad to see him go, saying they would have put their hands up to take him in if he wasn’t heading back to Sydney.
Andy is the last of the beagle sniffer dogs who were once synonymous with airports around Australia. Instead, the next generation will be the larger and far more eager to please labradors.
Adelaide Airport will temporarily only have one sniffer dog, Ari the labrador, but a replacement for Andy is expected by the end of the year. Only one beagle sniffer dog remains on active duty in Australia — Dawson, who works on Norfolk Island.
Source: The Advertiser, 10 May 2018, article by Mitch Mott.
SARS Customs officers at OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) last week intercepted over 41kg of rhino horns – with a total value of over R4.5 million – transiting through the airport. This is the biggest ever seizure of rhino horn by the SARS Customs team at OR Tambo International, Johannesburg.
As a result of profiling two foreign nationals travelling from Maputo to Vietnam via Johannesburg, their baggage was intercepted during a stop-over at ORTIA. A Customs detector dog “Mimmo” reacted positively to two bags. The tags found on the bags also did not correspond to the tags presented to Customs officials during the initial questioning of the passengers. This is a practice commonly found with narcotics smuggling syndicates.
The bags had a strong garlic and glue smell, (a tactic to distract detector dogs). Further to the plastic wrapped horns, the zips of the bags were also glued in an effort to keep the odour intact and to make the inspection difficult. Subsequent physical inspection of the bags by Customs officials revealed the rhino horn allegedly being smuggled by the two travellers. Source: SARS
Due to overwhelming interest in the SARS Customs Detector Dog Unit, a dedicated page is now included – see the Detector Dog ‘tab’ at the top of this webpage for a direct link, or click here!
Police dogs serve many purposes for law enforcement agencies. Often times they are used for their superior sense of smell, but they are also used to apprehend suspects. As such, these animals face many risks. One, though, is not necessarily the first that comes to mind, and that is being left to overheat in police cruisers. A company called Blueforce Development aims to fix this problem with a sensor that alerts police when a K-9’s temperature reaches dangerous levels.
According to the Pennsylvania K9 Assistance Foundation, an equal number of K-9’s die in heat-related situations as gunshots when on duty. Blueforce Development believes that its K9 Life Safety Bundle can prevent these deaths from occurring.
The system includes a sensor that is surgically implanted in the dog that sends data on the animal’s internal body temperature to a small receiver attached to the animal’s protective gear. If the dog’s temperature falls below or exceeds a value set by the dog’s handler, the data is transmitted using any in-car Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G or LTE connection inside the squad car to Blueforce’s cloud servers. From there, a notification is sent to the iOS or Android device of anyone subscribed via Blueforce’s system to the dog in question. These notifications take the form of audible tones, vibrations, text messages, or emails.
Pricing information was not made available as of this writing, which isn’t that surprising given that the system isn’t being marketed at the general public, but rather towards law enforcement agencies. The company did announce that the package will include five sensors that monitor temperature, humidity, and volatile organic compounds. Source: Blueforce Development
A team of UCSB researchers have mimicked the anatomy of a dog’s nose to build a highly effective scent detector that could be used to sniff out explosives and narcotics (University of California)
Combining nanotechnology and microfluidics, researchers at UC Santa Barbara have created a high-performance detector that draws inspiration from the anatomy of a dog’s nose to accurately identify substances – including explosives and narcotics – from very small concentrations of airborne molecules.
Able to detect smells ten thousand times as faint as humans can, a dog’s nose is an invaluable asset to police forces around the globe. So, when UCSB researchers set out to build an effective electronic nose that could assist homeland security, they already knew where they could find the perfect design.
By modeling the way in which a dog’s nose efficiently absorbs and then concentrates airborne molecules, the researchers were able to produce a device with remarkable performance, capable of capturing and identifying molecules in concentrations as low as one part per billion – as well, or better, than their furry counterparts.
Within the paperclip-sized chip, a network of microscale channels twenty times thinner than a human hair picks up the molecules and increases their concentration by a factor of up to a million. The molecules then interact with nanoparticles that amplify their spectral signature, and a miniature spectrometer detects their composition. The results from this analysis are then compared to a comprehensive database to find the closest match, identifying the molecule with a high degree of accuracy.
Even though it was first intended for use in explosives detection (the design will soon be commercialized for homeland security applications) this technology has much more far-reaching applications. Because it can be used to identify a very wide variety of molecules, the researchers say it could be easily adapted to detect narcotic substances, food that has spoiled, or even as a diagnostic tool that can identify disease, including certain forms of cancer. Source: http://www.gizmag.com.