Police departments in the US are using canines to sniff out thumb drives, phones, and other electronics. They train search dogs to associate food with locating the faint chemical smell of electronic devices, as detailed in this report by CNET.
It’s a lesser-known use for the K-9 programs across the country. It was kept secret for years so that authorities could catch unsuspecting criminals without running into complications and so they could be sure the dogs weren’t making mistakes. One case in 2015 did bring attention to dogs finding hardware through their olfactory senses. A Labrador retriever named Bear uncovered a man’s flash drive that contained child pornography, which helped make the case for the man’s conviction.
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