60 Minutes looked at bomb-sniffing dogs in a report that, especially given last night’s other featured stories — on the Marathon bombing and the 9/11 Memorial — brought home not just how many lives they’ve saved in the military overseas, but how many more they might save here.
Reporter Lara Logan focused on the dogs of war, and the trainers that describe their canines as nearly infallible when it comes to detecting bombs.
But they’re not so infallible when explosive devices are planted after the dogs have made their sweeps, as apparently was the case at the Boston Marathon.
“Would an average police dog have found these bombs at the Boston Marathon …?” she asked trainer Mike Ritland.
“…Based on what I do know, yes,” Ritland said. “If dogs went through the areas where they were placed– you know, your average, certified police bomb dog should have found them. My thoughts are if these guys (the suspects) are paying close attention to these dogs, they’re waiting. And when the dogs leave, they bring it in, they hand– they infiltrate, essentially, they drop it right where it’s busy, and very soon after, it detonates.”
As the “60 Minutes” piece pointed out, since 9/11 dogs have been used more than ever because nothing is more effective in finding hidden bombs. Dogs in the employ of the military and FBI have sniffed out bombs, captured enemies, and one assisted Navy SEAL Team 6 when it took down Osama bin Laden. Much more of what they do, given the often secretive nature of their work, never becomes known.
“The best of them serve with U.S. Special Operations and they’re in a league of their own,” Logan noted. “It’s nearly impossible to get anyone to talk about them publicly because much of what they do is classified, but we were able to talk to the people who train them for this story. We took the opportunity to ask about what might have happened in Boston while getting a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of America’s most elite dogs.”
(One member of the “60 Minutes” team — in a segment not shown on the air but featured on 60minutesovertime.com — even volunteered to be chased down by a military dog in training in Texas. Producer Reuben Heyman-Kantor, in the video above, tried to outrun the dog, but was brought down quickly.)
In her interview with former Navy SEAL Ritland, who now finds and trains dogs for Special Operations and top tier units in the FBI, Logan asked, “What can these dogs do on the streets of America?”
“The very same thing that they do for our boys overseas in that they detect explosives– they are a fantastic deterrent– they use their nose to find, you know, people as well,” Ritland said.
“Everybody knows that dogs can smell better than humans but what they don’t realize is that if you and I walk into the kitchen and there’s a pot of beef stew on the counter, you and I smell beef stew. A dog smells potatoes, carrots, beef, onion, celery, gravy, flour. They smell each and every individual component of everything that’s in that beef stew. And they can separate everyone one of those. You can’t hide anything from them. It won’t work because you can’t fool a dog’s nose.”
Ritland now trains dogs on his 20-acre ranch in rural Cooper, Texas, runs the Warrior Dog Foundation for retired war dogs, and is the author of “Trident K9 Warriors: My Tale From the Training Ground to the Battlefield with Elite Navy SEAL Canines.”
Ritland says its important — amid these days of budget cuts — to remember what lifesavers the dogs can be, both in wars and at home.
In Afghanistan, according to the report, 42 dogs have been killed in action. They’ve become so effective that the enemy is singling them out. A Taliban commander told “60 Minutes” that on his last operation they were ordered to open fire on the American dogs first, and deal with the soldiers next.
Logan visited what she said was one of only three breeders in the U.S. who produce dogs — almost always the Belgian Malinois — for top tier military units.
She also interviewed Green Beret Chris Corbin who, along with his dog Ax, almost died on their final mission in Afghanistan.
Corbin said he missed a signal from the dog while searching for mines. Ax was alerting to Corbin’s foot, but Corbin realized it too late. He lost both his lower legs. Ax was not wounded. Both returned to duty.
Ax was at Corbin’s side during the interview, and rarely took his eyes off his former partner as he described their first reunion after the blast.
“I just said something simple. ‘Hey, where’s my boy at?’ and he stopped. He froze. He looked around. And he went into a panic until he found me and he jumped on my legs. Painful. Just– I was just happy to see him. I didn’t care how much it hurt.”
Posted by John Woestendiek April 22nd, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 60 minutes, 911, animals, ax, belgian malinois, bomb, bombing, bombs, boston marathon, budget, chris corbin, cutbacks, detecting, detection, dog, dogs, explosive, fbi, green beret, homeland security, ied, lara logan, law enforcement, mike ritland, military, mines, navy seal, news, nose, pets, searches, security, smell, sniffing, special operations, sweeps, training
The FBI agent who shot and killed his neighbor’s 3-pound Chihuahua last year is no longer an FBI agent.
Ledger, 41, could not be reached for comment, the newspaper said.
Ledger was sentenced to deferred probation for two years and ordered to perform 300 hours of community service in July after pleading no contest to state felony animal cruelty charges stemming from shooting his neighbor’s dog, Sassy.
He shot the dog with a pellet rifle when she appeared in front of his home. The dog belonged to a young girl whose family lives down the street from Ledger.
Posted by John Woestendiek November 1st, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agent, animal cruelty, bureau, charges, chihuahua, departed, fbi, gone, killed, left, leslie ledger, neighbors, pellet rifle, probation, sassy, sentence, shot, waco
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
The most ambitious crackdown on dogfighting in American history has now led to the seizure of more than 450 dogs, with raids and arrests in eight states.
Following an investigation initiated by the The Humane Society of Missouri, officers from multiple federal and state law enforcement agencies made arrests and seized dogs in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas in what was “the largest simultaneous raid of multiple dogfighting operations in the history of the United States,” according to the Humane Society of the United States.
“This intervention is a momentous victory in our ongoing battle to end the cruel, criminal dogfighting industry,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS.
Pacelle reported on his blog: “Four United States Attorneys and a bevy of federal law enforcement agencies, along with The HSUS, The Humane Society of Missouri, and the ASPCA, raided multiple dogfighting operations, and seized at least 450 dogs, in what was the largest single day of actions against dogfighting in American history.”
The Humane Society of Missouri is sheltering more than 300 dogs — mostly pit bulls — seized in the Missouri and Illinois raids. The dogs will be housed, cared for and evaluated at an emergency shelter in St. Louis.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 10th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arkansas, arrests, aspca, bad rap, crackdown, dog, dogfighting, ed sayres, fbi, fighting, forensic, history, hsus, humane society of missouri, humane society of the united states, illinois, investigation, investigator, iowa, largest, melinda merck, missouri, oklahoma, raid, texas, wayne pacelle
An FBI agent was sentenced yesterday to two years’ probation and 300 hours of community service for killing a neighbor’s Chihuahua last year.
A state district judge in Waco placed Lovett Leslie Ledger Jr. on “deferred adjudication probation,” meaning no conviction will appear on his record if he successfully completes probation, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported.
Ledger had entered a plea of no contest to animal cruelty charges.
Ledger fatally shot his neighbor’s 3-pound dog with a pellet gun last year as it walked near his house.
FBI spokesman Erik Vasys said that the agency will conduct an internal inquiry to determine whether Ledger will faces any sanctions, ranging from suspension to dismissal.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 9th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agent, animal cruelty, chihuahua, community service, court, dog, fbi, inquiry, killed, killing, law, lovett leslie ledger, neighbor, pellet gun, probation, sentence, shooting, shot
An FBI agent who shot and killed a Chihuahua named Sassy in front of his Texas home says he deserves probation.
Amazingly, if a judge approves, that’s the sentence he’ll get.
Lovett Leslie Ledger Jr., 40, who lives near Lorena, pleaded no contest to animal cruelty charges in exchange for a recommendation from prosecutors that he be placed on probation for two years, according to the Waco Tribune.
The 3-pound dog, which belonged to a neighboring 8-year-old girl, was shot in the neck, just above her rhinestone collar, in February of 2008.
A neighbor, who witnessed the shooting when she went to investigate why her dogs were barking, said Ledger shot the dog with a pellet rifle, as one of his children watched.
Ledger initially lied to investigators about the dog’s death but later told deputies he shot the animal, according to court records. Ledger and his attorney both declined comment after a brief plea hearing Monday, the Tribune reported. The judge has set sentencing in the case for June 23.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 29th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agent, agreement, animal cruelty, animals, barking, chihuahua, dog, dogs, fbi, killed, lorena, lovett leslie ledger, neighbor, news, no contest, ohmidog!, pellet, pet, plea, probation, rifle, sassy, sentencing, shooting, shot, texas, waco