In the 21st century, where international criminals are tirelessly probing border defenses to smuggle illicit contraband, dogs are on the front line, ever vigilant, with the TSA, border police, and those fancy scanner tube things at airport security. But while good dogs the world over are sniffing out bombs and drugs, it turns out some naughty little dogs at Manchester Airport in England can't be bothered with that crap, and are turning out sausage and cheese from travelers' bags instead.
A new report from the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration found that despite labeling heroin and cocaine as "very high priority," the sniffer dogs at the Manchester airport didn't make a single Class A drug bust from November 2014 to June 2015. The six sniffer dogs were apparently too preoccupied by all the delicious food smells emanating from passengers' snack-packed bags.
And these are expensive sniffer dogs! The government has paid over $1.75 million for new kennels for the seven Manchester dogs—one little guy is in training, probably learning bad habits from the other dogs in their downtime. The kennel can hold up to 12 furry troublemakers in total.
The dogs are, sort of, doing their job by busting tourists with little bits of food. The report notes that the dog tasked with searching out products of animal origin—like, say, bushmeat—"made multiple accurate detections, but most were of small amounts of cheese or sausages, wrongly brought back by returning British holidaymakers and posing minimal risk to UK public health."
One video shows a couple of adorable spaniels eagerly running all over a baggage conveyer belt and inspecting bulk cargo in a warehouse, no doubt excited by the prospect of cheese and sausage.
But perhaps just the sight of man's best friend prowling the terminal is enough to scare off criminals or make them sweat. The report, however, stated that the deterrent effect of the dogs' presence was difficult to measure as their patrol schedules may have become too predictable. That seems to hardly matter, though, now that everyone knows the dogs are more interested in snacks.
The dogs were pretty good at finding cash, though. They sniffed out nearly $40,000 in currency, along with 60 kilograms of tobacco and 181 kilograms of illegal meat.
The report recommends that the dogs be deployed differently in the future to make their presence less predictable and to target specific flights that might turn up more contraband.
Belly rubs were not mentioned, but hopefully they're thinking of ways to keep morale high for the sniffer dogs.