The Labrador Retriever has held the number one position on the American Kennel
Club's (AKC) list of their Top 10 Most Popular Dogs for the past 23 years. This
breed has been used for hunting, tracking, retrieving, watch-dogging, police work,
narcotics detection, guide dogs, assistance dogs, search and rescue, sledding, carting,
agility, and competitive obedience. We can now add DVD-sniffing to the list.
Meet Lucky and Flo, a pair of black Labs who are trained to find pirated DVD movies.
The pair assists law enforcement agencies throughout the world and are known to
be the first DVD-sniffing dogs in the entire world. The dogs were trained in Ireland
and have been sent by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) around the
world in an effort to uncover the piracy syndicate, which cost the film industry
a staggering $18 billion in 2005 alone. New York City loses more than $600 million in retail sales every year due to world-wide film piracy and more than $50 million in sales taxes.
Neil Powell, a bomb-sniffing dog trainer in Northern Ireland, trained the two animals after it was determined that they were able to detect polycarbonate and other chemicals used in creating the discs. Lucky and Flo were previously trained as rescue dogs and had the traits that Powell was looking for.
The dogs are valuable because they are able to help investigators find illegal discs being smuggled across the world, intercepting them before they hit the street. The dogs are able to smell a hidden stash whether there’s just one disc or 100 discs.
In the past few months, Lucky and Flo have led police to millions worth of illegal pirated DVDs. The dogs are so good at their job that Malaysian pirate syndicates have placed bounties on the dogs. The $30,000 bounty on Lucky and Flo was placed after the dogs located illegal DVDs connected to the crime ring last year. Authorities have taken the threats seriously and have increased security around the dogs.