Lawsuits Raise Stink Over Police Dogs' 'Scent Evidence'

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2009 3:48 PM CDT
Lawsuits Raise Stink Over Police Dogs' 'Scent Evidence'
A police officer walks a bloodhound in New Jersey.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Recent lawsuits are bringing the reliability of police dogs’ noses into question, USA Today reports. Since 2004, three men have been released after wrongful convictions based partially on scent evidence, and two current federal suits target a well-known Texas deputy who works with his dogs across the nation. “It’s a fraud on so many levels,” a defense attorney said. “It’s junk science,” added another.

A Texas prosecutor says the skepticism is understandable but wrongheaded. “Everybody who encounters it the first time says, ‘Yeah, right,’” he said. “That’s what I said before I first saw it work.” The deputy at the center of the suits recently saw a conviction overturned but thinks the plaintiffs are just trying to use a misunderstood forensic tool to game the system. “It’s all about money,” Keith Pikett said. (Read more bloodhound stories.)

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