China employs cabin crew of the four-legged kind

Two golden labradors sporting uniforms and leather shoes launched China’s first drug-sniffing dog patrol on flights to Beijing this week, state media said on Wednesday.

The dogs are trained to hunt down passengers with drugs in their luggage or bodies by a “distinct smell on their seats that is detectable for up to two hours”, the state-run Xinhua news agency quoted a smuggling official as saying.

“The dogs have the ability to detect the smell with 100% accuracy,” Yan Haiqun, vice head of Beijing Customs Anti-Smuggling Bureau, was quoted as saying.

“Labrador retrievers are meek and friendly to people. Their noses are enormously accurate.”

The dogs, named Weite and Haige, manned a flight from the United Arab Emirates on Monday “to sniff every corner where passengers might have passed” after they left the cabin in Beijing, the report said.

It did not explain why they the dogs had to wear shoes.

Sniffer dogs have helped Beijing customs seize 31kg of drugs since 1996 and more than 200 dogs, wearing uniforms emblazoned with “Quarantine Detective Dog”, helped security detect explosives during the Beijing Olympics last year.—Reuters

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