Sniffer Dogs Turn in Their Badges As Marijuana Legalization
Public support for marijuana legalization has reached a record high(64%) in 2018 in the U.S., a Gallup poll shows. As states get more and more pot-friendly, many specially trained sniffing dogs for marijuana detection are confronted with unemployment and early retirement.
It is said that marijuana legalization is sweeping the USA. This is no exaggeration. In January, Vermont is the first state to legalize the drug with legislature, instead of ballot. During the mid-term elections, four states scheduled the votes on the legalization issue. Just days ago, Michigan became the tenth state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Now there are 10 states and Washington, D.C. that have passed the initiatives to legalize recreational marijuana for adults over 21. Meanwhile, 33 states have legalized medical use of marijuana.
One of the directly influenced is drug detection dogs. There is an old saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. This is literally true in this case. Retraining is not recommended by experts, so many of them who are trained to sniff multiple drugs including marijuana since an early age and spend their time in the police station for years may have no better choice but to leave.
This is what happened to Tulo, a yellow Labrador retriever, who has served for eight years in Police Department of Rifle since it was months old. He has made amazing performance in 170 arrests in the town of 9,000. But since the state legalized marijuana, they found Kuol’s talent in sniffing a big distraction in detecting illegal drugs. When it cannot be seen as an reliable partner, it has to turn in the badge.
“A dog can’t tell you, ‘Hey, I smell marijuana’ or ‘I smell meth,’” said a police chief. “They have the same behavior for any drug that they’ve been trained on. ”
Being lay off is disappointing, either for humans or furry babies. But one thing worth noticing is that their retirement does not mean becoming strays. These old buddies will live with their handlers and receive thorough day care.
Instead of retirement, some states are considering how to resettle and reuse the current dogs–let them work in places where marijuana is still controlled, such as jails and schools. Also, the courtroom is a good option.
With many dogs’ duties shifted, there will be newly trained dogs to fill the vacant jobs. Typically the police department has to pay at least $6,000 to buy a working dog and spend another thousands to train it! A really costy change!
All in all, we do hope all our little furry heroes get well treated even when they are of no practical use to humans in certain fields anymore!