Chilean Police Train Dogs To Sniff Out COVID-19

Members of the Chilean Police Canine Training team show two Golden Retriever dogs named Coffie (R) and Clifford (L) before the beginning of their training session aimed to detect people infected with coronavirus COVID-19 during a presentation to the press, in Santiago, on July 14, 2020. MARTIN BERNETTI / AFP


Police in Chile are training dogs to detect people that may be infected with the novel coronavirus by sniffing their sweat.

The dogs — three golden retrievers and a labrador — are between the ages of four and five. Until now they have been used to sniff out illicit drugs, explosives and lost people, police say.

The training program is a joint effort by Chile’s national police, the Carabineros, and specialists at the Universidad Catolica de Chile.

It follows in the footsteps of similar efforts taking place in France, said Julio Santelices, head of the police school of specialties.

Dogs have 330 million olfactory receptors, and an ability to detect smells 50 times better than humans. They can also smell 250 people per hour.

“The virus has no smell, but rather the infection generates metabolic changes” which in turn leads to the release of a particular type of sweat “which is what the dog would detect,” Fernando Mardones, a Universidad Catolica professor of veterinary epidemiology, told AFP.

According to Santelices, tests in Europe and Dubai shown a 95 percent efficiency rate in canine detection of COVID-19 cases.

Medical Detection Dogs, a British charity set up in 2008 to harness dogs’ sharp sense of smell to detect human diseases, also started training canines to detect COVID-19 in late March.

– Four-legged biodetectors –

“The importance of this scientific study is that it will allow dogs to become biodetectors, and detect this type of illness at an early stage,” Santelices told AFP.

Mardones said that there is already evidence that dogs can detect diseases such as tuberculosis, parasite infections, and even early stages of cancer.

Canines can detect subtle changes in skin temperature, potentially making them useful in determining if a person has a fever.

According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, the possibility of contagion from a dog is remote.

The canine trainees began their education one month ago, and will use sweat samples taken from COVID-19 patients being treated at the Universidad Catolica’s clinic.

The experts hope to have the dogs trained and working in the field by August.

The plan is to deploy them with an officer in pedestrian-heavy areas such as train stations and airports, and at health control stations.

Chile on Tuesday reported 1,836 new cases of COVID-19 — the lowest figure in two months — bringing the total of cases since March 3 to 319,493.

The viral infection has killed more than 11,000 people, according to the most recent Health Ministry official report, which includes “probable” COVID-19 victims.


PHOTOS: Police Deploy Dogs To Control Crowd At Supreme Court

Security operatives hold dogs as a crowd of people gather at the entrance of the Supreme Court in Abuja on January 14, 2020. Photos: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.



The police on Tuesday deployed dogs to control the crowd at the Supreme Court in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

This comes as the apex court resumed the hearing of governorship appeals from six states of the Federation.

The court is hearing the appeals filed by some governorship candidates in Sokoto, Imo, Kano, Benue, Bauchi, and Plateau States.

On Monday, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, who led a seven-man panel of justices hearing the appeals suspended the proceedings in the court.

He gave the order following the inability of the security operatives to control the crowd and the noise level in the courtroom.

Justice Muhammad directed counsels representing the parties not to appear with more than five lawyers, although he allowed the parties in the case to witness the proceedings.

The police carried out the CJN’s directive and used dogs to control the crowd in the process, while the court resumed sitting thereafter.

See more photos of the second day at the Supreme Court below:

Security operatives standing with dogs at the Supreme Court in Abuja on January 14, 2020. Photos: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.


Pressure Mounts On South Korea To Stop Killing Dogs

File photo of a dog.                                                        Source: Sarah Stier/Getty Images/AFP


A rescue operation to save hundreds of dogs in South Korea from the slaughterhouse began Wednesday, as pressure mounts on the country to end its custom of killing canines for meat.

About one million dogs are eaten a year in South Korea, often as a summertime delicacy, with the greasy red meat — invariably boiled for tenderness — believed to increase energy.

But the tradition has earned criticism abroad and has declined as the nation increasingly embraces the idea of dogs as pets instead of livestock, with eating them now something of a taboo among young South Koreans.

The two-week rescue operation by animal protection group Humane Society International (HSI) will save about 200 canines at a dog farm in Hongseong county, 150 kilometres south of Seoul.

The dogs will then be sent to Canada and the United States for rehoming.

READ ALSO: South Korea Announces Hike In Payment For US Troops

“These dogs are no different from any other dogs. Once they receive some tender loving care that they deserve and that they need,” Kelly O’Meara, an HSI official, told AFP.

The farm was the 14th complex shut down by the group since 2015.

The organisation said it has rescued around 1,600 dogs during that time, with farmers given support to move into other lines of work. One transformed his dog meat business into a blueberry farm.

Lee Sang-gu, the owner of the Hongseong farm, said he decided to change his business because it was “not profitable anymore”, noting even his family members were against eating dog.

According to a survey in 2017, 70 per cent of South Koreans do not eat dog, but far fewer — about 40 per cent — believe the practice should be banned.

It also found 65 per cent support raising and slaughtering dogs under more humane conditions.

The country’s largest canine slaughterhouse complex in Seongnam city, south of Seoul, was dismantled in November. Activists who visited found electrocution equipment and a pile of dead dogs abandoned on the floor.

There are currently no laws on how to treat or slaughter canines for meat in South Korea. While farmers have urged Seoul to include dogs under livestock welfare regulations, animal rights groups oppose doing so, seeking complete abolition instead.


Dogs to hunt for Boko Haram members

Members of Boko Haram sect are now to be hunted by military trained dogs with a specially trained squad.

Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant-General Azubuike Ihejirika made this known  at a workshop on “Enhancing Military Professionalism in the Nigerian Army to Meet Contemporary Challenges,” in Kaduna state, on Tuesday at the One Division of the Nigerian Army.

The Army chief noted that  the Army would  train a special squad in the art of using dogs to fight Boko Haram, a fundamentalist group which has been staging violent insurgency against government and security establishments.

“I’m glad to inform you that our second batch of our trainees on the use of dogs in the fight against terrorism have just completed their training and will soon be launched to join you to further make your work easier” the COAS said.

While criticizing the failure of the military in engaging the sect members in battle, Ihejiraka urged officers of the Joint Military Task Force combating the fundamentalist group in the North to be “alive to their duties” as he charged the soldiers to consider themselves at war with the sect.

All soldiers must be combat ready at all times he said, adding that it is unacceptable for members of the Boko Haram sect to engage troops at checkpoints without much resistance.

Ihejirika said, “It is high time for you and your men to be in war mood to be able to deal with the current challenges. Otherwise, how do you explain that troops at checkpoint duty would be attacked by these decadence? And they sometimes do that and get away with it. This is an area you must work on.

“As you are out in the field at every point in time, make sure you are either conducting an operation or you are gathering intelligence. You must be doing any of the two at any point in time. If your area is too quiet, you have a reason to get worried.”

He also enjoined the need for Commanding Officers to be innovative in tackling the worsening state of insecurity across the country.

“We believe that how your troops performance is a direct reflection of the qualities of their Commanding Officers. That is why you are assembled here for the next four days to brainstorm on matters of service interest in order to improve and sharpen your professional skills.”

He however, commended the troops for the recent respite in what he called terrorist attacks in the North-West and North-East regions of the country.

He also hinted that the Army would inaugurate 14 speed boats to be used in checking militancy in Niger Delta, in a bid to stop what he described as terrorism in the entire country.