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New jobs for airport gundogs

Custom sniffer dogs and former guide dogs are the latest deterrent at airports in Britain and USA new type of customs sniffer dog is being introduced at British airports to work among passengers in a bid to detect smugglers.

According to a report in The Times newspaper, the “sit and stare” dogs will replace the two types of canines, which are currently used by custom officers during searches of large areas, such as cargo holds where contraband might be hidden. The dogs used at present are trained to scratch and bite at places where consignments such as smuggled tobacco, drugs, or currency might be hidden.

Around 60 dogs, many of them gundogs, are currently being trained, and senior customs officers hope that the dogs will be effective in all searches, including passenger, cargo and warehouses.

Meanwhile in America, Labradors who prove too hyperactive as guide dogs, are being retrained as bomb sniffer dogs.

Government officials in the US say there is a shortage of specially-trained dogs and many guide dog schools report being swamped with requests since the terrorist attacks on 11 September.

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