Illinois Sheriff Claims Legalized Pot Will Lead To K-9 Euthanasia

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In what may be the most nonsensical argument I’ve ever heard, officials in Macon County, Illinois have said that if marijuana is legalized in the state, dogs who are already trained to sniff out marijuana as an illegal substance may have to be euthanized as a result.

Macon County Sheriff Howard Buffett (middle son of billionaire Warren Buffett) said that if marijuana was legalized, they’d most likely have to replace all their K-9 dogs. Chad Larner is the training director of the K-9 Training Academy in Macon County and said that several dogs would most likely need to be euthanized because they are trained to alert to the presence of marijuana, and it’s near impossible (or just impractical) to retrain them. Additionally, the dogs are taught not to be social so they are not distracted from their work, and he believes they’d not be good dogs for adoption.

The state of Illinois is currently looking at becoming the 10th state to legalize marijuana for recreational use, and consequences for the use of marijuana have already been reduced. Medical marijuana is already legal, but a list of conditions that qualify its use will expire in 2020.

According to a poll of Illinois residents, nearly 66% favor the legalization, and when citizens heard about what might happen to K-9 dogs, Reddit went crazy. While it stands to reason that already trained dogs could alert to marijuana even though it was legal and then ruin an entire search like what happened in Oregon a few years ago, it’s ridiculous to think dogs would require euthanasia as an alternative.

Washington state also had similar issues when marijuana became legal in 2015, but they retired dogs that could not be retrained. None of the other states that have legalized marijuana have threatened to kill the dogs as a tactic to keep the legalization from happening, and frankly, it’s disrespectful to the loyal and faithful service K-9s who put their lives on the line with every job they take.

We’d not think of getting rid of human drug enforcement officers because a law passed, and it’s sad that anyone would think that okay for K-9 dogs.


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