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Special Report: Drug Dog Dangers - KOAM TV 7

Special Report: Drug Dog Dangers

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Police K9s can be the first-line of defense for their handlers while both are on-the-clock. Of course, their sense of smell is part of what makes them good at what they do. But what's don't for them should that sense be compromised by something dangerous?

"Yeah, we've had a few narcotic busts."

Chris Wren is with the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office. His partner is KEO, a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois. What K9's can sniff-out when they're out in the field isn't always safe.

"Generally, before we try to run him, try to make sure there's nothing that's going to hurt him, but there's always that slight chance," says Wren.

In November of 2016, A Florida detective lost his partner when the drugs he found were laced with Fentanyl, a powerful painkiller often mixed these days in pot, cocaine, heroin and meth.

Here at home..


"We've taken preparations with activated charcoal that I carry with me in case he does ingest something."

Something that will make the dog vomit, which gives a handler time to get him or her to a vet.

"He's my little buddy," says Brett Davis with the Joplin Police Department. His partner is Bolt, a 4-and-a-half year old Shepherd-Mal mix.


Davis says, "This is something he loves to do and loves going to work and so every time when I go to get ready for work, I mean, he's following me to the car and ready to go."

And like Keo..


"He's a passive alert, so when he actually finds something, he'll actually just lock up and stare at it."

Luckily, Bolt nor Keo have been exposed to any dangerous ingestibles. But that's not to say they won't ever be.

"That's the fear that we have is that somebody is doing something to potentially harm our dogs and so, they may purposely set something up to harm our dogs and that's where we do everything we can to try and prevent that and protect them."

And that includes kits that have Naloxone or Narcan, an opiate antidote that can reverse symptoms of an overdose. Because after all, "He's not only man's best friend, but he's also my partner."

Main Street Pet Care in Joplin provided the training for the kits to JPD, along with EMS, so they're always prepared. And, like regular training for K9's, it's ongoing and constantly evolving.

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