Shelter Dog Sniffs Out Child Pornography on Computer Hardware
Gia, a 1-year-old former shelter pup in Florida, is a rare hardware-sniffing dog who aids police officers in finding drives that are used by child pornographers.
Once police find a child pornographer, it can often be difficult to find the hardware where they store photos of videos of children because it is often small and well-hidden. This is where K-9 deputy Gia comes in. She’s a 14-month-old pup who can smell hardware anywhere in the room. Another great fact : she’s a rescue dog!
Gia was found at Bishop Animal Shelter SPCA in Bradenton, Florida, and was donated to the department, saving taxpayers $20,000 (that’s the typical cost of a specially trained dog). Driven and friendly, Gia was trained by Lieutenant Richie Cunningham for eight months using her favorite toy, which was imprinted with a computer odor before she was ready to hit the round sniffing.
Lieutenant Cunningham, also head of the K-9 unit for the sheriff’s office, says that Gia can walk into a room and sniff the computer like we humans smell pizza and goes right to it. During a mock test, Gia sniffed several outlets and when she smelled the hardware, sat down. When the deputy opened it up, he found a flash drive hidden behind the outlet.
Gia’s sense of smell is so accurate, in fact, that she can smell hardware smaller than a dime, such as the memory disks implemented into cell phones.
This hard-ware sniffing dog is only one of a handful in the United States and can sniff out practically anything that can hold memory. While this indeed useful to find child pornographers who use things like hard drives and memory disks, it also means that Gia sniffs out empty hard drives or flash drives that hold nothing inside. However, she does prove extremely useful in instances where Police go into a child pornographer’s home and send Gia to quickly and efficiently find where the suspect has hidden their drives.
Lieutenant Cunningham warns child pornographers to watch out, because Gia’s on the job.
“Hide it, it’s just a challenge now. Gia is coming in – she will find it.”