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Paws across the Pacific: more Aussie sniffer dogs to assist US drug detection.

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Monday 16 October 2000


Paws Across the Pacific - More Aussie Sniffer Dogs to Assist U-S Drug Detection Australian dogs are set to improve bomb and drug detection in the United States, as a result of Australian Customs Service’s highly regarded breeding program.

Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Amanda Vanstone, today handed over 16 Labradors to the United States Consul-General, Mr David Lyon.

The dogs will be used as foundation breeding stock by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Institute for Biological Detection Systems (IBDS) at Auburn University, Alabama. Both organisations want to emulate the Australian breeding program.

"The FAA hopes to introduce Australian Customs methodology and bloodstock for a breeding program for counter-terrorism, while IBDS are keen to access the methodology and gene pool for illicit drug and bomb detection.

"That these agencies seek our breeding model speaks volumes about the calibre of dog our Australian program is producing," Senator Vanstone said.

The Australian Customs Service breeding program pinpoints required genetics and environmental influences for breeding top-class sniffer dogs.

In 1998, Australian Customs donated foundation breeding stock and methodology to U.S. Customs to enable them to enhance their detector dogs program.

Since research began for the Customs selective breeding program, 357 dogs have been bred. Dogs from the Customs detector dog training program have made more than 6000 detections.

"Many other Australian agencies use dogs bred by Customs including the Australian Army, Australian Federal Police and State and Territory police. Around 30 Customs-bred dogs were used by these and other agencies to look for explosives during the Sydney Olympics," Senator Vanstone said.

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