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Practice Points: Canine Drug Alerts Illustrated
By Jeffrey S. Weiner
Kimberly Homan and I coauthored Those Doggone Sniffs Are Often Wrong: The Fourth Amendment Has Gone To The Dogs for the April 2006 issue of The Champion. Limited space meant the photos of canine “alerts” were not included. Here are the photos that illustrate aggressive and passive alerts. In the top photo, a black German Shepherd is biting at, and trying to get to, the contraband. Below, a Belgian Malinois is biting at the contraband and forcefully trying to get it with her paw. Both are unquestionably “alerts.” A passive alert, as in the middle-right photo, shows the Malinois sitting and focusing on the contraband. Passive alerts are typically used by bomb sniffing dogs for obvious reasons. In drug cases, passive alerts are not as objectively “reliable” as aggressive alerts.
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