Police dogs tested before postal workers?

According to Howard Kurtz:


If this is true (and if it is it’s criminal negligence at least), why would police dogs need to be tested for anthrax? If it’s not communicable then there’s no threat of a human freakin’ being catching it from the dogs, right?

I have no idea if dogs can contract anthrax (or die from it). If they can I see no reason not to test the dogs. From a purely cynical point of view those animals are valuable and represent a lot of time and money in their training. As a dog owner I can attest that I’d view the death of my dog very nearly on par with a death of any other human member of my family. If I could do a simple test to save her life then I’d do it in a second.

Also realize that you are placing these dogs in a hazard situation. They aren’t covered head-to-foot (err…paw) in plastic hazard suits. You are asking them to potentially stick their nose in a hazardous substance and take a big whiff.

Even assuming that dogs cannot contract anthrax they might, in the course of their investigation, get it on their coat or nose. The handler (or anyone else who comes into contact with the dog including the family the dog lives with) might then easily pick it up from the dog so it is in the handler’s best interest as well to have the dog tested and make sure it is clean.

None of this is to suggest that people shouldn’t have been tested. However, if you have dogs nosing over every square inch of a place (something workers haven’t likely done) then testing the dog is a good first step before testing X-thousand people. In the course of its investigation the dog is more likely to stumble across any anthrax (if present) so the dog testing negative might be at least one indication that the people who were in the facility are safe.

Police dogs are considered officers, so their dogliness is not really taken into consideration. I think this is a little twisted personally. After all, if a dog was chewing on my arm and I had a gun, I’d shoot the dog. However, then I’d be firing on an officer and the rest of them could open fire on me, all because of a damn dog. The moral of the story is that I don’t carry a gun, nor do I frequently find myself in a situation where the police release the hounds on me. So, from a legal standpoint, I can see them testing the dogs first, but from a personal standpoint I find it immoral. The key being that they tested the dogs first. Of course you would test them, but why the priority over postal workers? I’d be pissed if I worked at the post office.

*The key being that they tested the dogs first. Of course you would test them, but why the priority over postal workers? *

I believe the real key here is that the people authorizing the testing for Police are totally unrelated to the people authorizing the testing for Postal Workers. They’re two separate entities - there is no overseeing agency as I understand it.

This is off topic but I don’t see the problem with a police dog being considered a police officer. As you imply before such laws were in place criminals felt quite free to kill any police dogs that might be chasing them. It’s just a dog afterall right? What’s the big deal?

Well, it’s a big deal to the police. Police dogs usually live at home with their handlers so at least one officer has an emotional attachment to that dog. In addition those dogs are valuable and expensive if you include all of the time spent training them. So, from a police department’s perspective you’re destroying their valuable property. Finally the rest of the police are more than happy to have the dogs as tools for their use. Sniffing out criminals waiting to ambush them, chasing criminals running away, cowing otherwise violent criminals who might try and fight the police and so on. Those police value the dogs and have no desire to see them hurt.

So, all in all, I think it is just great that a dog asked to do a dangerous job on behalf of humans (the dog probably otherwise couldn’t give a crap) is protected strongly by law. I’m not sure police have a right to shoot you for kiiling or harming a police dog but you will go to jail for a good while for having done so which is as it should be.