The Manatee County Sheriff’s K9 unit has a new addition from an unusual background. Gia, a mixed-breed rescue dog who was adopted from Bradenton’s Bishop Animal Shelter, is now one of only a few electronics-sniffing dogs in the US. The success of Gia represents victory on two fronts for the K9 unit.
Electronics-sniffing dogs have proven to be vitally important in recent criminal investigations. These dogs have the ability to detect hidden electronic data devices such as computers, SD cards, Flash Drives, and other components. Most notably, during the search of Subway spokesman Jared Fogle's home, an electronics-sniffing dog named Bear detected a Flash Drive which contained evidence related to his child-pornography charges.
Gia, as an individual, represents a great accomplishment for a shelter dog. Manatee County Sheriff’s spokesman, Dave Bristow, explained that law enforcement dogs can come with a hefty price tag. These dogs can cost upwards of $15,000 to purchase and train. Gia met the criteria required to train as an electronics-sniffing dog, and other shelter dogs may possess similar traits that would enable them to serve in the same capacity. This situation is best described by Bristow as a "win-win."
For more information, see:
Sherri Lonon, Bradenton Patch, "Shelter Dog Becomes Rare Porn-Sniffing K9" April 22, 2016, http://patch.com/florida/bradenton/rescue-dog-becomes-rare-electronics-sniffing-k9-0.