Security company claims world's first cable-sniffing dog

Two-year-old black lab has been trained to detect forensic markings on copper cable and other metals that are prone to burglary.

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A security company in the United Kingdom is claiming to have trained the world's first cable-sniffing dog, to aid law enforcement in the discovery of stolen copper cabling. According to Selectamark Security Systems, a two-year-old black Labrador named Jazz has been trained to detect forensic markings of the company's proprietary SelectaDNA coding, which the company says "is being used in many police-backed crime reduction initiatives across the U.K. and by companies such as Network Rail to protect copper cable from metal theft.

"Instead of locating drugs or human remains, Jazz has been trained by former police officer and home-office police-dog instructor Mick Swindells to locate SelectaDNA forensic markings on a range of metals including copper, lead and aluminum," the company added.

Swindells started the company called Search Dogs UK after he retired as a police officer, and since doing so has trained dogs for such tasks as drug detection, tracking and trailing, as well as disaster recovery. He said he trained Jazz in two months for her current metal-sniffing duties. "She has been trained to sniff out SelectaDNA, which is a unique covert security marker being used by more than three quarters of U.K. police forces to track down burglars, robbers and metal thieves and bring them to justice," Swindells said. "Jazz is able to touch the marked metal with her nose identifying the target scent of SelectaDNA, allowing officers to move in at this point and make further investigations."

Selectamark's James Brown explained the efficiency of such a trained dog: "Previously, officers had to search manually for marked metal, which could prove time consuming and at times not successful, as often the process was like finding a needle in a haystack."

Find out more about Search Dogs UK.

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