Trending Topics

These COVID-sniffing K-9s are the first in the United States

A Massachusetts sheriff’s office says it now has two dogs that can smell out the disease

k-9 covid-19 sniffer dogs

Bristol County Sheriff’s Office

By Suzie Ziegler

DARTMOUTH, Mass. — The Bristol County Sheriff’s Office has a new tool to help slow the spread of COVID-19: sniffer dogs.

Last month, the agency debuted two K-9s it says are trained to sniff out COVID-19, the sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook.

“Bristol County and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have come so far since the pandemic started last year,” Sheriff Thomas Hodgson said. “Our new COVID-19 detection program is one way the people of Bristol County can stay ahead of the curve.”

Two K-9s have been trained to smell out the virus, according to the report. Huntah, a black lab, and Duke, a golden retriever-lab mix, graduated on July 14.

“It’s best to think of it as a decontamination tool,” said Capt. Paul Douglas, who is paired with Huntah. “The dogs can detect the COVID odor on a counter or table if it was recently touched by a COVID-positive individual, or even detect the odor on a tissue used by someone with COVID.”

[RELATED: 8 investments worth every penny for K-9 officers]

The dogs will now be available for use at schools, town buildings, nursing homes, public safety facilities and medical facilities, among others, according to the sheriff’s office. The program was developed by Florida International University’s International Forensic Research Institute.