In a paper published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, a team headed by Marta Walczak and Tadeusz Jezierski of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and which included me, studied various issues in the training of dogs to detect cancers—specifically breast cancer, melanoma, and lung cancer. Training was divided into three phases, but each phase was more difficult and the percentage of correct indications tended to decrease as training progressed. The dogs in the study were divided into two age groups, a six-month old group and a 20-month old group.
Although younger dogs performed well at the beginning of training, they demonstrated a decrease in willingness to sniff odor samples and performed so unsatisfactorily in the final phase of training that none of them met the criteria for moving to the working phase. The significance of training issues in developing dogs for clinical uses is discussed. Walczak, M., Jezierski, T., Gorecka-Bruzda, A., Sobczyniska, M., and Ensminger, J. (September 2012). Impact of Individual Training Parameters and Manner of Taking Breath Odor Samples on the Reliability of Canines as Cancer Screeners. JVEB,7, 283-294.
L.E. Papet and I continue to pursue our legal analysis of cueing and probable cause in an article that is posted on the Animal Legal and Historical Center of the Michigan State University College of Law and which we update periodically as new developments occur. An article we wrote for Deputy and Court Officer on steps law enforcement canine handlers can take to prevent cueing, and the resultant risk of getting canine evidence thrown out by a court, is now accessible. The article includes pictures that demonstrate how cueing may be detected by an observer.
The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear two police canine cases, Jardines and Harris. An article I wrote with L.E. Papet on the issues presented by those cases, U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Two Police Canine Cases in Fall Term, has appeared in the New York Law Journal and the website of the Daily Business Review, and is available to subscribers of the Journal and the National Law Journal, as well as through law and other library access points.
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