K9 Fraud! Fraudulent Handling of Police Search Dogs, by Resi Gerritsen & Ruud Haak; Publisher, Detselig Enterprises LTD Alberta, Canada; ISBN: 978-55059-393-8, $27.95, 216 pgs.
This is a very interesting book and one of the most unusual books that I have reviewed. While book is primarily about police dogs and scent specific work, it is very applicable for SAR units. Each chapter has a number of real cases which are reviewed. The lessons in this book can be applied to all SAR disciplines.
The authors refer to studies and tests that have been conducted over the past hundred plus years to verify how and why dogs work. For example they address the studies done to determine if dogs follow human scent or the disturbance on the ground.
Each chapter reviews actual cases and why there was fraud or not. Although the book points out flaws in handling and training, it is not done in an accusatory manner. The authors explain the common mistakes that dog handlers make which lead to fraud.
The case studies covered in this book are from around the world including some better known USA cases and are lessons for the SAR dog handler. They are also interesting to read for everyone else.
What is most important about this book are the lessons that the SAR dog handler can learn about how to properly handle cases that will hold up in court as well as how to properly train and handle their dogs. I highly recommend this book. An added benefit of this book is as a guide for lawyers and other people who are involved in legal cases that use canine evidence.
The chapters are:
Chapter 1: Fraud with Scent Identification Line-ups
Chapter 2: Dog’s Responsiveness to Human Gestures
Chapter 3: Fraud with Tracking Dogs
Chapter 4: Scent Research and Tracking Experiments
Chapter 5: Fraud with Mantrailing
Chapter 6: Human Odor and Dog’s Scent Perception
Chapter 7: Scent Problems and Training Problems
Chapter 8: Avoiding and Preventing Fraud
Section 1: Scent Identification Line-ups
Section 2: Management Attention: Intentional Fraud
Section 3: Civilians in Criminal Investigations
Section 4: Contamination of Scents
Section 5: Improper Training
Section 6: Insurance Fraud
3 thoughts on “K9 Fraud! Fraudulent Handling of Police Search Dogs”
To better understand how some of the tracking/trailing problems arise from training arrangements see also “The History of Police Canine Tracking: An Applied Science Review” and “Canine Human Scent Matching/Nonmatching Conditional Discrimination” at http://k9scentdiscrimination.com/
Thank you for your comment. Yes please read the book. I was enlightened myself. Keep in mind that the book is geared more toward police work and the K9 evidence holding up in court. That is a bit different than SAR work. Also, keep in mind that I have over 20 years in the field as an IC and SAR dog handler so I understood what the book was teaching. The National Search Dog Newsletter had an article in, I think it was the Oct 16 issue, about how SAR K-9 court evidence is attacked. So it does happen and this book provides information to make evidence as reliable as possible.
As a member of a search & recovery K9 team I can’t consider fraud being a problem as it is straight forward with us, we either find the missing person or we don’t. In the case of the don’ts (there has only been two) the K9 pinpointed where one individual entered the water close to the mouth of the river and his body was washed up further along the coast months later. The second was a mystery, we had a theory on our findings and this was proven when months later the body was recovered on Blackpool beach. But again, I should read the book before I make an assumption.