Paranoid Parents Can Rent Drug Dogs to Sniff Out Kids' Stash

By Bryan Le 07/18/14

Parents can call a private drug sniffing dog on their kids...or even their neighbors. And that has some legal experts worried.

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If you're a parent who suspects their kid of being drug user, you can now uncover the truth with private drug dogs for hire.

NPR recently spoke to Tom Robichaud, who owns a drug dog outfit called Discreet Intervention in the Boston area and brings Ben—a dog with police-level contraband detection training—to conduct searches for the nominal price of $300. Robichaud offers the tools and techniques of police detection without the prosecution or jail time, and said in most cases he won't contact the police if the searches turn anything up.

"I don't say anything," Robichaud explained. While he isn't legally obligated to inform the police, he feels he could be morally obligated to call under extreme circumstances. "If, by chance, my dog does come across, let's say, a meth lab [or] a big amount of a narcotic, I have to call the police."

Robichaud simply tells parents what locations the dog hits and allows the parents to take the reigns from there, no questions asked. Sometimes he receives calls from people who suspect their neighbors of doing drugs; since he's a private investigator, Robichaud isn't subject to the same restrictions as police. But such a service has caused some concern among those in the legal community, particularly the ACLU and local police.

"There's a fundamental principle here that we don't intrude in that way on people's homes," said Jay Stanley of the ACLU. "And I don't think we want to go down the road to allowing open season for neighbors to spy on each other."

Police forces are also uncomfortable with the idea of a private drug investigator snooping about strangers' houses, since such activity could put lives or investigations at risk.

"We don't seek this kind of assistance," said Jim Pasco of the National Fraternal Order of Police. "We believe that some things are best left to police to ensure the best possible result."

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter

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