Drug Dealers Hook Dogs on Heroin

By Sarah Beller 10/08/12

Dealers reportedly inject their dogs with heroin to increase their aggression and make them attack cops.

Staffordshire bull terriers are frequent victims.
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Drug dealers in Scotland have taken to injecting dogs with heroin to make them more aggressive: one dog rescue center reports that 40% of the dogs it takes in have been given illegal drugs. Ian Robb, who runs the Angus Dog Shelter in Forfar, says dealers commonly drug dogs and train them to specifically attack police officers. “Dealers go out and buy a fake uniform and teach the dogs to attack someone wearing it,” he explains. When cops raid the dealers’ homes, the dogs will go for them. “In some cases it’s cannabis but in most it’s heroin, which has a devastating effect on an animal.” Dog psychologist and trainer Lesley Connelly warns that “a dog on heroin will run around, leap up the walls and will be completely manic. If you attempt to approach it you will get bitten." Dogs that are given marijuana, meanwhile, tend to be frightened and shaking. In one recent case, two Staffordshire bull terriers were repeatedly injected with heroin by their owners, and had to be put down because they were “bouncing off the walls.” In Scotland's housing projects, "Staffies" are often bred and sold by addicts to fund their habits, and have acquired an unfair reputation as a result. In many cases, however, these “drug hounds” can survive after being rescued and going through detox. "Love and routine" are key, says Connelly. She stresses that animals shouldn't be blamed for their owners’ mistakes: “Dogs haven’t changed over the years; man has.”

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Sarah Beller is a writer and the Executive Director at Filter. She has written about drug policy with a focus on harm reduction for Substance.comThe Fix and Salon. She has worked as a social worker with formerly incarcerated people in New York for a number of years. Her writing has also appeared in McSweeney’sThe HairpinThe ToastReductressThe Rumpus and other publications. You can find Sarah on Linkedin and Twitter.