Meet the police canine sniffing out COVID-19 at Massachusetts faculties

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When Huntah and Duke aren’t busy enjoying catch, the 2 canine are normally detecting the presence of COVID-19 of their neighborhood. In the previous yr, the 14-month-old Labrador retrievers have labored at 15 totally different faculties in Massachusetts.

“They love to work,” Jonathan Darling, Bristol County Sheriff’s public info officer, instructed CBS News Wednesday. “And then when they’re not working, they just want to give you kisses and we love it. They’re so cute.”

Darling mentioned the police division reached out to the Forensic Center at Florida International University final yr relating to an rising examine on canine that may detect COVID-19 odors. Pulling from analysis courting again to 1993, researchers on the college educated canine to determine totally different odor traits of issues like fungi and viruses. 

The examine discovered canine to be greater than 90% dependable in detecting COVID-19 odors, with a really low false positivity fee. So, FIU despatched the educated canine to work on the college’s campus and at state emergency operations. They even screened followers at Miami Heat video games.

Last yr, Duke and Huntah had been enrolled within the college’s coaching program, the place they practiced with face masks worn by individuals with COVID-19, Darling mentioned. When the 2 graduated in July, they grew to become the primary legislation enforcement K9s within the nation educated to detect the virus. 

Since graduating, the 2 sibling pups have labored in three totally different college districts, police stations, an area well being division, city halls and workplace buildings. 

The canine are educated to take a seat down in entrance of an space the place a COVID-19 odor is detected. The canine will then alert their handler in order that they’ll mark the realm as one to give attention to for cleansing. Darling mentioned the canine should not used rather than COVID-19 testing. 

Duke and Huntah additionally deliver pleasure to the neighborhood, Darling mentioned.

“The kids in the hallway just love seeing the dogs and the teachers love to see them and we just bring smiles to people’s faces,” he mentioned. “So in addition to helping keep everybody safe against COVID, if you can bring a smile to somebody’s face, it’s totally worth it.”

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