Concerned Parents Turn to Drug-Sniffing Dogs

Concerned Parents Turn to Drug-Sniffing Dogs
Posted by FoM on April 04, 2000 at 13:07:04 PT
Renting Animals to Search Teens' Belongings 
For teens across the country, the days of hiding bongs in their closets or bags of marijuana in compact disc cases may be over. A handful of companies are now lending parents drug-sniffing dogs to search bedrooms, cars and clothes and, for $250, reveal whether teens are concealing a drug habit. 
It's a novel use for the same type of dogs that now patrol border crossings, airports and schools. And the industry's pioneers say it is a legitimate way to ease or confirm parents' fears that their children are drug users. "It's the best investment a parent can make," said Russ Ebersole, the owner of Detector Dogs Against Drugs. "People buy Chem Lawn to fix their lawns and Merry Maids to clean their homes. Wouldn't you spend the same to know your kids are safe?" A Threat To Bonds of Trust? Not everyone's reaction to the concept has been positive. Both psychologists and members of the detection-dog industry have objected to the dogs' home use as an invasion of privacy and a threat to the bond of trust between children and parents. But others say the dogs can help if they're used wisely. "If a kid is doing fine, it may be a waste of money," said Los Angeles-based psychologist Robert R. Butterworth. "But some parents out there may be at their wits' end. If the danger signs are there, I say go for it." Ebersole said he has helped 1,250 families in the four years his Virginia-based company has been renting out canines and handlers to parents. Wide Range of Controlled Substances: Like the other companies, Ebersole's foray into the home drug-dog market came after years of providing dogs to businesses and schools. In fact, his grandfather first started supplying dogs to police departments in 1948. Now Ebersole's company has "dealerships" in seven cities -- including Albuquerque, N.M., Baltimore and Seattle -- each of which will quietly send a dog to a family's home for an hour-long search. He said he even will search rooms of children over 18. Ebersole said his 19 dogs can detect a wide range of controlled substances, from the popular party drug Ecstasy to heroin and marijuana. They can even sniff out gunpowder or determine if a child is hanging around pot smokers by picking the scent off clothes. The dogs' method is similar to that of their four-legged counterparts that work for the police -- they sniff until they smell a drug, then sit down and point to the spot emitting the odor. That's when Ebersole's handlers turn the search over to the parents, thereby eliminating legal entanglements and maintaining company discretion. Fiancee Gets Good News: Dan Gordon, a former private eye who has been using drug dogs to sniff homes since the mid-1990s, has taken the private search a little further with his company, the Palm Springs, Calif.-based Drug Detection Dogs. He once provided dogs to a woman to sniff her live-in boyfriend's belongings, just to make sure he had kept his promise to stay drug-free before they were married. "I felt real happy to tell her to go get married, he was clean," Gordon said. "I look at it as a way to just help parents out when their back is against the wall and they don't know what else to do." Not everyone in the business agrees. No Substitute for Talking: Mike Ferdinand is vice president of what industry insiders call the biggest detection-dog provider in the country, the Houston-based Interquest Group. His company has searched scores of businesses and more than 600 school districts from California to Michigan. But Interquest draws the line at home searches. "If mom and dad have a problem in the home, they should handle it themselves because there's nothing that we can do that they can't do," Ferdinand said. "It seems that they wouldn't have that kind of problem in the first place if they had spent more time talking with their children themselves." Psychologist Alex J. Packer, who wrote How Rude! The Teenagers' Guide to Good Manners, agrees that talking with children is the best strategy. But in some families, especially ones with a child who has a long-standing drug problem, he says, using a dog to confirm that the youth is staying drug-free may be helpful. "Where I can see it as a negative is when parents use it to check up on a kid," Packer said. "Especially when it is done when the kids are at school and it's a surreptitious invasion of privacy." 'Just Say No' Isn't Working: Packer said that the use of the dogs, even if there is a legitimate problem, is an indication that the family's lines of communication have completely broken down. "I see it as a very sad development when parents have to use measures like that or espionage to know what's going on with their kids," Packers said. "It really indicates that the trust and the communication have broken down." Butterworth agreed that dogs should only be used if there are already telltale signs of drug use. He added, however, that he can understand why parents take extreme measures. Citing a recent study, which found that the "Just Say No" drug programs aren't working, Butterworth says that "parents are getting caught in the middle, and they don't know what to do." Todd Venezia is an staff writer: todd.venezia apbnews.comBy Todd Venezia Saginaw, Mich. ( Published: April 4, 2000 ęCopyright 2000 APB Online, Inc. In This Series: Concerned Parents Turn to Drug-Sniffing Dogs 'Huffing': The Hidden Drug Problem How to Talk to Your Kids About DrugsHuffing The Hidden Drug Problem How To Talk To Your Kids About Drugs
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Comment #8 posted by Kanabys on April 05, 2000 at 08:18:02 PT
I have a sincere feeling that this is another 'anti' fad. I believe that it may be used ever so slightly and then fade into history as another goofy attempt by the authorities to try to control it's people. We will all look back on this later and laugh our asses off at thier idiodic attempts. Mark my words........
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Comment #7 posted by dddd on April 04, 2000 at 18:29:24 PT
In posting #2,Damian says;"The anti-drug industry is really pushing its luck." The fact that the "war on drugs",has created a new group of "anti-drug" industries,is one of the main things blocking reform. From new prisons,to drug test labs,and drug sniffing canines,this lucrative industry will lobby and fight to continue the dark reality of of this phony drug war. I like juniors idea of "fun at home".This seems like an effective and entertaining way to harmlessly mystify these concerned,brainwashed parents......................dddd
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Comment #6 posted by kaptinemo on April 04, 2000 at 17:04:38 PT:
Paranoia, Mom and Pop style
A few years ago, I read of a home drug test kit that was being marketed as being non-invasive. How? By taking a paint scraping of Johnnie and Suzie's walls and sending it off to be analyzed. Then the next turn of the screw was out and out, confrontaional urine testing.But as anyone will tell you, there are lots of enterprising souls that will take advantage of such silliness; one guy actually sells 'clean' urine for $79 American.So, now we have slobbering schutzhunden nosing about, seeking the odd scent of cannabis. Ever heard of Vick's Vapo-Rub, children? Rover has a hard time smelling past it. Of course, it's a bit obvious, but what the hell. (Pssst! He doesn't like ammonia, either!).I would find it the height of irony if the hired hound urinated on Mummie and Daddy's plush Oriental carpet in his relentless search for a harmless weed. To console themselves, the pissed off parents would no doubt reach for the Chivas Regal bottle, not recognizing their own role in the farce for what it is and has always been: hypocrisy of the grossest form.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on April 04, 2000 at 15:45:36 PT
This is really wrong
Hi Rainbow, good to see you!I see this the way you do. We complain about how other countries make the most important thing the loyality to the countries laws. We ( The USA) have divided the children and the parents and that has been the downfall of every empire. Where is this taught? Don't they teach this in school? The trust between parents and children is too important to everyone, including society, to be playing these cruel games. I use the word games because I can't think of anything else to call them. It will fail and it is very wrong.Peace, FoM!
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Comment #4 posted by Rainbow on April 04, 2000 at 15:11:23 PT
Another example of how trust is not a viable alternative in many relationships. I give the fiancee and her groom 2 years and they will separate. If trust is not there what is. See will be hiring private detectives. I bet she is on a mailing list somewhere for the privacy breakers.As far as the families it is further understanding of what is really wrong in the country. The family structure is broken in many situations. Kids turning in parents and parents turning in kids. Kids turning in kids. Now I must admit I told on my brother when he ate the last of the ice cream but never even thought about the social services or police.These guys are making a buck and helping further the decline of our society.Thanks mcczar and prohibitionists who are on the surface profamily and prochildren balderdash I say.I am going home to my family where we respect each other and hope that the Dare program has not tainted my childrens minds.CheersRainbow
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Comment #3 posted by Junior on April 04, 2000 at 13:37:05 PT
Fun At Home!
Sprinkle powdered dirtweed all over Mom & dad's room ... a few rabbit-trails here, there .... leading rover all over! ;-)
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Comment #2 posted by Damian on April 04, 2000 at 13:31:48 PT:
war against trust
The anti-drug industry is really pushing its luck. Drug sniffing dogs are now employed to search concerned parents' homes, aggravating the bond between families. But why? Most drugs that are classified as 'illegal' in this Police state (U.S.A.) have the greatest historic, medicinal, and spiritual value! It's a shame that so much dangerous propaganda is out there. 
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Comment #1 posted by Scott on April 04, 2000 at 13:27:07 PT:
woof woof
If drug use is so awful and destructive, why do parents or anyone else needs dogs or urine tests to prove their child is using drugs? If drug use causes an individual to become some mindless zombie like the Feds make 'em out to do, then wouldn't it be obvious if people were using them? Just a thought.
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