I am the attorney who argued the motion to suppress in Matheson v. Florida http://www.2dca.org/opinion/August%2001,%202003/2D00-1611.pdf curbing drug dogs.
As an attorney, I am often consulted by people victimized in searches by dogs trained to smell drugs. A drug dogs skills are often overestimated because people anthropomorphize dogs. A humanlike quality that dogs have is that they are natural libertarians with no interest in the war on drugs.
Drug dogs are like humans in that they must be taught to approach peaceful people and search them, so that they can be arrested, handcuffed and imprisoned for decades under modern prohibition. That is not an easy trick to teach a dog. Its easier to teach humans. All drug dogs are playing a game, as are some humans who support modern prohibition. The dogs are taught using actual dog toys. The toys are a reward, and the reward is hidden with drugs to trick the dog into playing a game of searching for the toy by associating it with drug odors. Many errors can happen. There is always the danger that the dog will alert on anything that resembles or smells like its toy (towels, tennis balls, car carpet, etc.).
Moreso than in humans, the libertarianism of drug-dogs always resurfaces, and must be suppressed constantly by law enforcement retraining. Without constant retraining the dogs lose interest and stop performing accurately. Record-keeping is a must to know whether dogs are guessing, or seeing cues. Only with record keeping and independent testing can any judge draw any conclusion from the dogs game playing out on the street.
Dogs approximate humans in that they go along with the system to avoid disapproval from peers (teachers, school students, friends, etc., in the case of humans). Drug dogs do not want disapproval from their police handlers. Dogs play the game, and will try to guess and read cues because they are searching for approval, not for drugs. Dogs match humans in that if you influence them enough they will do anything — like passing the 18th amendment. In modern prohibition, some dogs are slow learners as are some humans.
Let’s liberate drug dogs. Return them to protecting people from violence and theft, which is also the only proper purpose of law enforcement. Dogs should be mans best friend, not mans persecutor. Drug dogs are natural libertarians.
The preceding article is also printed at http://members.ij.net/rex/drugdogslib.html
”’Rex Curry Attorney at Law in Tampa, FL. He can be reach via email at:”’ mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org