Parents send sniffer dogs into teen bedrooms

By chillinwill · Oct 23, 2008 · ·
  1. chillinwill
    Sniff Dogs, a New Jersey-based company founded by two concerned mothers, offers a "discreet" service in which Labradors and Alsatians trained to search airports and nightclubs are set loose in the arguably more challenging terrain of a teenager's bedroom.

    For $200 (£125) an hour, the dog and its handler can sniff out heroin, cocaine, crystal meth and ecstasy. The company says that the dogs' sensitivity to marijuana is so acute that they smell the seeds from up to 15 feet away and detect the drug's residue on clothing even two days after use.

    The dogs are trained to sit when they detect drugs, leaving parents to conduct the final stage of the hunt.

    The company's founders say sniffer dogs avoid the confrontation that comes from a drugs test as the search can take place without children knowing.

    The company has five dogs and currently only operates in New Jersey and Ohio, although it wants to expand across the US.

    Debra Holmes, Sniff Dogs' co-founder, rejected accusations that her recently launched service was invasive and could break down trust within families.

    "Parents think it's about cops busting into the house, as on TV, but it's not much different to a termite inspection," she said. "It's often a five-minute process as these dogs are so quick."

    Mrs Holmes had the idea after – much to her surprise - her teenage son was caught driving under the influence of marijuana.

    She cited statistics showing that half of American high school pupils have tried marijuana and that most teenage drug-taking happens in the afternoon when they get home from school.

    She said she had received an enthusiastic response from parents as well as drugs advisers.

    "Drug prevention should begin at home but there's been no way for parents to implement it," she said.

    By Tom Leonard in New York
    Last Updated: 5:45PM BST 23 Oct 2008

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  1. old hippie 56
    A nice way to bring trust back into the home, search the kids rooms while they at school.
  2. Stephenwolf
    Well of course, because honest talk about legitimate harms and dangers of drugs is so much less effective than alienating a child by letting them know you don't trust them at all.
  3. fnord
    Show some real love,call the cops on them andf have them dragged out of class and strip searched then piss tested. after that send the m away to bording school untill there 18.

    No need to worry then, that will be sure to keep em off those drugs!

    Lets tell them how we feel about this wonderful new idea:
  4. chillinwill
    Using Drug-Sniffing Canines At Home Barking Up Wrong Tree

    You've got to admire America for its uncanny stick-to-itiveness. With its finances ravaged, its debt skyrocketing, wars on two fronts and an historic election in the offing, one would think the country has so much on its plate that it risks forgetting some of its old troubles.

    Not, though, when it comes to America's most cherished vigil: the never-ending War on Drugs. There's apparently still plenty of energy to fight that battle, not to mention Orwellian ingenuity.

    Last week we read about a new company called Sniff Dogs out of New Jersey with what is sure to be a welcome new wrinkle in the ongoing crusade. For a mere $200 an hour, they'll rent you a drug-sniffing dog and a handler so that you too can pretend that your teenager's bedroom is a cell in Attica.

    In just seconds, one of the company's five dogs -- all retired from police duty -- can root out any marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine or heroin that Junior thought was effectively stashed, from as far away as five metres.

    What a godsend. You know how tiring it can be to root through Josh's stuff every time he goes off to school. And it was so hit-and-miss finding drugs and paraphernalia the old-fashioned way, by emptying the kid's pockets in the laundry room.

    Apparently the company's co-founder, Debra Holmes, was spurred to action when her own son was convicted of driving under the influence of cannabis. She reported being surprised, nay, shocked, that such a thing could happen, though Holmes is now quite fond of whipping up paranoia among prospective clients by telling them that half of all U.S. schoolchildren have tried the stuff.

    Another one of her selling points is the fact that the technique avoids the "confrontation" implicit in asking your teen to pee in a cup.

    I guess that in the spirit of non-confrontation a parent could simply find and confiscate the drugs, and not even bring up the messy business at all. You could just regularly hire Sniff Dogs the way you would Molly Maid, and the kid would eventually come to believe that he lives in an enchanted bedroom that makes drugs disappear. He will thus lose interest in them entirely.

    As for Ms. Holmes, does she have any worries that, as hippie-dippie critics have said, this practice is invasive and will shatter the trust between parents and children?

    Absolutely not.

    "Parents think it's about cops busting into the house, as on TV," she says, "but it's not much different to a termite inspection."

    Hey, great idea. Teach the dogs to smell for termites too, then ask for $300 an hour.

    By the way, I don't see anyone complaining about how this affects the animals themselves. Ex-cops are famous for picking up freelance security jobs, but at least that is usually of their own free will. How do we know those mutts weren't looking forward to a retirement where they could finally get a chance to just smoke a joint and chill out?

    Still, the advent of Sniff Dogs reminds us that there's plenty of untapped opportunity out there for clever entrepreneurs.

    Imagine all the lies that teenagers are currently getting away with. For the price of a thousand-dollar conversion kit, you could turn an ordinary bathtub into a home waterboarding facility.

    And surely some talented jewelry designer could come up with an electric tracking collar that would look good with a hoodie.

    Forget about contributing to scholarship funds. How about starting an annuity that will yield enough to pay kids for ratting out their druggie siblings. You can't run a prison without stool pigeons.

    Meanwhile, we need to keep an eye on Sniff Dogs. Jersey mobsters might want to buy the business as a front when they realize what an excellent tool those dogs would be in finding drugs hidden by rivals.

    You know what they say. When drug-sniffing dogs are outlawed, only outlaws will have drug-sniffing dogs.

    Kevin Brooker is a Calgary writer. His column appears every Monday.

    Author: Kevin Brooker
    Pubdate: Mon, 27 Oct 2008
    Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
    Copyright: 2008 Canwest Publishing Inc.
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