Bristol County Police K-9s First In Country To Be Trained To Sniff COVID

Photo: Kim Tunnicliffe/WBZ NewsRadio

DARTMOUTH, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The Bristol County sheriff's department are the first law enforcement group to use four-legged officers to sniff out COVID-19.

Officials announced the coronavirus-detection canine team on Thursday.

"Bristol County and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have come so far since the pandemic started last year," Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson said in a statement. "Today, festivals are happening, restaurants are full and concert venues are packed. We’ve made so much progress, and our new COVID-19 detection program is one way the people of Bristol County can stay ahead of the curve."

"This is all science," Sheriff Capt. Paul Douglas said. "This program was developed by professors, doctors and scientists at FIU, and we couldn’t be more proud or excited to execute it here in Bristol County."

The canines were trained by using medical masks worn by positive patients. Through the use of an ultraviolet system, officials were able to kill the contagious portion of the virus on the masks masks so the dogs and officers could safely examine train.

"It’s best to think of it as a decontamination tool," Douglas said. "The dogs can detect the COVID odor on a counter or table if it was recently touched by a COVID-positive individual, or even detect the odor on a tissue used by someone with COVID."

Canines Huntah and Duke are the two dogs that underwent this training.

WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports:

Written by Edyn Jensen

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