Could dogs have prevented Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab from boarding a plane with explosives hidden in his underwear?
CNN asked the question yesterday — the answer to which is, with enough properly trained dogs, probably.
But explosives-detecting dogs, the report points out, aren’t generally trained to sniff out humans, and having them do so might raise some privacy concerns.
Still, those quoted in the report say, something as low-tech as dogs could be our best solution to the problem.
“The fact that this individual showed up with a one-way ticket, purchased with cash and no checked baggage — he should have been pulled aside,” said security expert Larry Berg, a consultant with Berg Associates. “And at that point, if inspected by a dog, he literally could have been detected.”
“A well-trained dog and a very good, well-trained handler can find explosives with little or no false alarms,” said trainer Patrick Beltz said. “And if they had been doing it, it might have deterred him from trying to get on the plane in the first place.”
About 700 bomb-sniffing dogs currently work at U.S. airports, and they are trained to detect up to a dozen different explosive compounds, including PETN, the compound that AbdulMutallab is alleged to have smuggled aboard Northwest flight 253 to Detroit on December 25.
The report also looks at research underway at Auburn University in Alabama, where dogs are being used to sniff not people, but the air they leave in their wake when they pass by. The Auburn trainers believe their dogs can detect very small traces of explosives and then follow the trail to the person carrying a bomb.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 31st, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abdulmutallab, airport, auburn university, boarding, bomb-detecting, bombs, detroit, dog, dogs, explosive-detecting, explosives, flight 253, inspections, international, K-9, k9, larry berg, national, northwest, patrick beltz, plane, search, security, threats, underpants, underwear
What would you name a dachshund, born deaf and blind, who counts on his nose to show him the way?
To Marcia Fishman, the answer was obvious: Rudolph.
After bouncing between four other homes, Rudolph was adopted by Fishman two years ago, and he’s gone on to become a visitor to elementary schools, and the subject of a children’s book.
“Rudolph’s Nose Knows,” written by Fishman, is about a blind and deaf dog teased by other dogs because he bumps into things. When he turns out to be the only one able to rescue a bird stuck in a hole, he becomes a hero.
As a team, Rudolph and Fishman visit schools around Detroit to help show kids that disabilities are surmountable, and that teasing — whether over a red nose or some other physical challenge – is a painful and misguided waste of time. Fishman hopes that Rudolph, the dachshund, can help teach children to accept others who might appear different from themselves.
Last week, they dropped in on more than 60 third-graders at McIntrye Elementary School in Southfield, according to the Detroit Free Press.
“Shut your eyes and hold your ears as tight as possible,” Fishman told the students. “Don’t feel sorry for Rudolph, he is a happy dog. But I want you to understand what he experiences every day of his life.”
Though he can’t hear or see, Rudolph is helping to instill compassion and acceptance in the children, Fishman said. ”He’s spreading a great message. I will never forget what one child said to me last year, after he hugged Rudolph– ‘I am going to tell my mommy that I want a deaf and blind dog, too.’ “
Posted by John Woestendiek November 30th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: blind, book, books, books on dogs, compassion, dachshund, deaf, detroit, disabilities, dog, dog books, marcia fishman, nose, red-nosed, reindeer, rudolph, rudolph's nose knows, schools, teasing
Those who know him say a homeless man named Tim — despite his living conditions — took good care of his chocolate Lab, Pudge.
“No matter if it was five degrees below zero or if it was really hot, he had water for the dog and he took care of that dog before he took care of himself,” said Cheryl Munro.
For reasons unexplained, a Detroit police officer notified Animal Control and Pudge was picked up, according to a report by Fox 2 News in Detroit. She spent a week in the a nimal shelter because Tim lacked the money to pay for the license and vaccinations needed to get his dog back.
It looked like things were headed for a cruel end when those familiar with Tim and Pudge learned what had happened and began raising money.
“My co-workers and I, we work at Detroit Edison, and we went around and collected some money… to get this dog out of the pound for him,” Munro said.
Even the city Health Department, of which Animal Control is a division, helped pave the way for Tim to get his dog back.
“That’s his only companion. That’s his friend for life, and when you’re out here in the cold, you need some comfort,” said Detroit Health Department Spokesperson Mike McElrath. “We understand that at the Health Department, and what we’ve done, at this point, is we’re trying to reunite them. But because the gentleman is homeless, we know there has to be a legal residency, and so, we’re going to transfer it over to a friend.”
While the friends are having trouble locating Tim, one, Sharon Maceri, offered to take Pudge in until he can be found.
“I can’t imagine what this dog is going through with not being with Tim right now,” she said.
Posted by John Woestendiek November 24th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, bond, cheryl munro, chocolate, companion, companionship, detroit, detroit edison, dog, donate, friends, health department, homeless, lab, man, money, pudge, raise, sharon maceri, tim, video
Freddy, a Belgian Malinois killed in the line of duty in Michigan Wednesday, will have his name added to a memorial wall at FBI headquarters in Quantico, Va., the agency said Thursday.
Freddy was killed by gunfire at a Dearborn warehouse during a raid on members of a group the FBI described as a radical, violent and separatist black Muslim group.
Killed in the raid was Luqman Ameen Adbullah, the imam of the Masjid Al-Haqq mosque in Detroit and the alleged leader of the group, according to the Detroit News.
The FBI said in a news release that Freddy’s body will be returned to Quantico, where the dog was based.
“Freddy was born on Feb. 17, 2007 and entered on duty with the FBI on Sept. 8, 2008,” the FBI said in a statement. “In the line of duty, Freddy gave his life for his team. He will be missed by his FBI family.”
Donations to the K-9 Law Enforcement Memorial can be sent to the FBI Agents Association, Attn: K-9 Fund Freddy, P.O. Box 12650, Arlington, VA 22219.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 30th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: belgian malinois, dearborn, detroit, dog, fbi, freddy, gunfire, imam, K-9, k-9 law enforcement memorial, killed, luqman ameen abdullah, masjid al-haqq, memorial, michigan, mosque, muslim, quantico, raid
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger — instead of commiting crime — is taking a bite out of it, with his donation of two K-9 unit dogs to Detroit, the city where he won the first Super Bowl.
Roethlisberger, in Detroit yesterday to play the Lions, is paying for both dogs. They replace a pair of retiring dogs that left the Detroit Police Department at the end of the year.
Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans told the Detroit Free Press he was grateful for the donation.
“We are deeply appreciative to the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation for this grant,” Evans said. “In these difficult budgetary times, we must rely more and more on outside sources of funding to support our officers’ efforts. This grant will provide our officers additional resources to protect the citizens of Detroit.”
The quarterback created the the foundation to distribute grants to police and fire departments in Pittsburgh and cities of each regular season road opponent for the Steelers.
“It’s incredible to see the strong bond that is formed between the dogs and their partners both on the job and at home,” Roethlisberger said in a statement.
By day, Army Maj. Steven Hutchison — a Vietnam veteran who came out of retirement at age 59 to fight in Iraq — was rough and tough, crusty and disagreeable, a man with little respect for the rules.
He violated one of them nightly, sleeping with his arms wrapped around Laia, a stray yellow puppy he had taken in from the streets.
Hutchison died in May, killed when a roadside bomb exploded near his truck — the oldest soldier to die in the Iraq war. But Laia lives on.
Laia was transported back to the U.S. by Operation Baghdad Pups, preserving not only the pup, but — as described in the Detroit Free Press yesterday — the memory of Army Maj. Steven Hutchison, as well.
“Whenever Laia was around,” Hutchison’s “demeanor and personality changed 1,000%,” Sgt. Andrew Hunt wrote in an e-mail to Hutchison’s family. “He was never without a smile; he was so much happier in life.” When a senior officer ordered Hutchison to get rid of the dog or face disciplinary action, Hutchison sent her into hiding with a friend at a far outpost on the border of Iran. The puppy broke free and ran away, returning one day to Hutchison’s base with a broken leg.
The day Hutchison was killed, Laia was spotted chained up outside a tent by Jerry Deaven, an employee of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in Detroit. He was visiting Iraq to research terrorist funding.
“What’s going to happen to her, now that the major is gone?” Deaven asked. A few members of Hutchison’s team said they wanted to take her, but they were getting redeployed. “If I didn’t take the dog, they would have had to put the dog down,” he said. Read more »
Posted by John Woestendiek September 14th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: amputation, bomb, casualty, detroit, dog, dogs, homeland security, iraq, jerry deaven, laia, major, oldest, operation baghdad pups, soldier, soldiers, steven hutchison, three-legged, war
Michigan’s animal shelters euthanized 118,365 dogs last year — some of them in outdated gas chambers which take as long as five minutes to accomplish the ugly job.
“In a gas chamber, the larger dogs survive for four to five minutes — terrified and choking,” said Joe Sowerby, one of many animal advocates upset by revisions to a bill that would have prohibited the gassing of dogs.
A bill to require euthanasia be administered through more humane lethal injection was proposed in the Michigan legislature, but now it appears it will be watered down, allowing the process to continue in some counties, the Detroit Free Press reports.
Dogs injected with sodium pentobarbital lose consciousness in seconds and die within minutes. The method has also been shown to be less costly.
Despite that, Assistant State Veterinarian Dr. Nancy Frank said she wouldn’t favor limiting shelters’ options because not all facilities have the training for injections.
State legislators, including two from metro Detroit, say they plan to revise — and essentially weaken — bills that, in their original versions, would have outlawed the use of gas chambers in animal shelters.
“We’ll say whenever possible you should do injections because that’s the most humane,” state Rep. Fred Miller said last week. “But if you have the training and you’ve invested in the equipment to use gas properly, that’s allowed.”
Poison gas is no longer used at animal shelters in most of Michigan, including metro Detroit. But at least 10 counties in north and west Michigan still use it, according to the Michigan Department of Agriculture.
State officials said Michigan shelters euthanized 53% of the animals brought in last year, but figures aren’t available on how many were gassed.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 7th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal shelters, animal welfare, chamber, death, detroit, dog, euthanasia, euthanize, euthanized, five minutes, gas, killed, large dogs, law, legislature, lethal injection, michigan, stray, survive, weakened
Rising foreclosures and the sagging economy are making it more difficult for families to properly care for their pets, and this week JAKKS Pets and the Petco Foundation are doing something about it — offering free dog and cat food to struggling families and pet rescue groups in Detroit, Chicago and Greater Cleveland.
A free one-week supply of dog or cat food will be handed out to those who show up Saturday or Sunday at the Petco stores at Westgate Mall in Fairview Park or at 500 East Aurora Road in Macedonia.
“Pets have become innocent victims of the recession,” a company spokesman said, “and the number of animal intakes at shelters has risen dramatically.”
The move may not be purely altruistic. The company’s public-relations events follow a raid of its Illinois warehouse in June, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and marshals confiscated pet food that had been stored in filthy conditions, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.
The warehouse, which supplied Petco stores in Ohio and 15 other states, was infested with rodents and birds. There had been no reports of pet illness from consuming Petco food, but pet owners were told to wash their hands after handling the bags and plastic containers.