U.S. Supreme Court to Decide Whether Drug Sniffing Dogs Are Reliable

By: Bryan Anderson Email
By: Bryan Anderson Email

Marianna- Homer is a six year old black labrador retriever and his job is to sniff out drugs for the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.

"He's been with the sheriff's office about three years," said Homer's partner Deputy Sean Hill.

Hill said it's not an easy task training narcotic sniffing K-9s.

"It's everyday four to five hours a day for sixteen to twenty weeks," said Hill.

He said Homer is a necessary part of his job, but not everyone agrees on the reliability of drug sniffing dogs.

The controversy surrounds a 2006 case at the Liberty County Sheriff's Office. The department's drug sniffing dog named Aldo alerted to narcotics on two separate occasions in driver Clayton Harris' car. The problem is there were none the second time.

As a result, Florida's Supreme Court threw out the drug evidence in the case, calling it unreliable. But Hill said no evidence doesn't mean the K-9 was wrong.

"Just because he alerted to it does not mean the dog was not doing his job. Therefore there could have been some narcotics there in recent past," said Hill.

Ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court will have the final say. Justices agreed Monday to look at Aldo's case. They'll decide if law enforcement agencies around the country should be required to submit more detailed documentation in court proving their drug dogs are effective.

The Liberty County Sheriff's Office refused to comment on the story but did confirm Also is now retired because of his age. The Supreme Court should start discussing this case by fall.

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