sniffer dogs © Steve Lovegrove

Everything has its own supply chain, even, it seems, sniffer dogs. Prior to the pandemic, US authorities sourced 85%-90% of its sniffer dogs from Europe, largely Germany and the Netherlands – as with everything else that got messed up by Covid, so too was the supply of properly bred and newly trained dogs, according to this Wired report.

There are currently around 5,100 dogs owned by federal agencies and another 420 owned by third-party contractors, and while in the longer-term projects such as the Patriotic Puppy Programme may ensure greater domestic supply, in the short term there are worries about an aging sniffer dog workforce being overworked.

“I wish we were way further along, but certainly the pandemic slowed the research down, slowed all the programmes down. It restricted the inflow of dogs from overseas and slowed progress in this country to establish alternatives – it just beat us all up.”

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