Dogs Fetch Contraband Cell Phones in Jails

Md., Va. among states using canines to bust crooks' outside contact
By Laila Weir,  Newser User
Posted Jul 10, 2008 1:51 PM CDT
Tazz, a 5-year-old springer spaniel trained to search prison cells for contraband cell phones, conducts a practice search on Wednesday, July 9, at the Maryland House of Corrections.   (AP Photo/Kristen Wyatt)
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(Newser) – Dogs, it turns out, can sniff out more than just bombs and drugs. Authorities in Maryland and Virginia have canines rooting out cell phones, described by one official as "perhaps the worst type of contraband" in today's prisons. The increasingly tiny devices are easy to smuggle in, the Washington Post explains, allowing inmates to continue directing criminal activity.

Dogs have proven adept at finding the forbidden electronics; in a demonstration yesterday, a dog even sniffed out a phone that was hidden inside a TV. Nor are they fooled by other common inmate ploys, like hiding phones in peanut-butter jars or down toilets. “I think every state will be doing this in a short time,” said one prison official.