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Dogs don't lie...Oh dear !

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Dogs don't lie...Oh dear !

Post by Catkins on Thu Sep 10, 2009 12:35 am

http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/126000/Air-base-on-alert-for-blast AIR BASE ON ALERT FOR BLAST Sniffer dogs alerted guards Wednesday September 9,2009 By Brendan Abbott AN RAF base went on bomb alert last night after specially-trained sniffer dogs alerted guards to a military vehicle entering the base. Members of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team investigated what was at first thought to be a possible improvised explosive device at RAF Lyneham, in Chippenham, Wiltshire, an MoD spokesman said. The alarm was raised when the vehicle was stopped near the perimeter fence. The area was cleared but no bomb was found and the all-clear was given later. RAF Lyneham is the home of Britain’s Hercules transport aircraft fleet. Many of the British soldiers killed in Afghanistan are brought home via the base. The bodies of Private Gavin Elliott of 2nd Battalion, of the Mercian Regiment and Lance Corporal Richard Brandon of the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, both of whom were killed in Afghanistan last week, are due to be flown into the base today.
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Re: Dogs don't lie...Oh dear !

Post by Cath on Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:51 am

Every dog handler knows, no matter how reliable his/her dog is, that they aren't 100% flawless. Though in this case I'd prefer a false positive over a false negative.

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Re: Dogs don't lie...Oh dear !

Post by Marilyn on Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:50 pm

Copied this from today's International Herald Tribune .. it further shows how dogs should not be used as primary evidence .. read on and see some familiar things...

Marilyn x
_______________





By JOHN SCHWARTZ
Published: November 3, 2009

HOUSTON — A dog’s sniff helped put Curvis Bickham in jail for eight months. Now that the case against him has been dropped, he wants to tell the world that the investigative technique that justified his arrest smells to high heaven.



Deputy Keith Pikett of the Fort Bend County, Tex., Sheriff's Department gave his bloodhound Clue a scent to seek.





Curvis Bickham was identified in a scent lineup and spent eight months in jail until another man confessed to the crime.



The police told Mr. Bickham they had tied him to a triple homicide through a dog-scent lineup, in which dogs choose a suspect’s smell out of a group. The dogs are exposed to the scent from items found at crime scene, and are then walked by a series of containers with samples swabbed from a suspect and from others not involved in the crime. If the dog finds a can with a matching scent, it signals — stiffening, barking or giving some other alert its handler recognizes.
Dogs’ noses have long proved useful to track people, and the police rely on them to detect drugs and explosives, and to find the bodies of victims of crime and disaster. A 2004 report by the F.B.I. states that use of scent dogs, properly conducted, “has become a proven tool that can establish a connection to the crime.”
Scent lineups, however, are different. Critics say that the possibilities of cross-contamination of scent are great, and that the procedures are rarely well controlled. Nonetheless, although some courts have rejected evidence from them, the technique has been used in many states, including Alaska, Florida, New York and Texas, said Lawrence J. Myers, an associate professor of animal behavior at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.
In particular, the methods of the dog handler in Mr. Bickham’s case, and in a half-dozen others that are the basis of lawsuits, have come under fierce attack.
The handler, Deputy Keith A. Pikett of the Fort Bend County, Tex., Sheriff’s Department, is “a charlatan,” said Rex Easley, a lawyer in Victoria, Tex., who represents a man falsely accused by the police of murdering a neighbor. Deputy Pikett, the lawyer said, “devised an unreliable dog trick to justify local police agencies’ suspicions” for producing search warrants and arrests.
Deputy Pikett, who declined to be interviewed, works in the town of Richmond, southwest of Houston, but he has served as a busy consultant to law enforcement agencies around the state, using his home-trained bloodhounds — he has given them names that include Columbo, Quincy and Clue — to sniff out crime. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he has by his own estimate in court testimony performed thousands of scent lineups since the 1990s. His lawyer said the techniques were effective.
Thomas Lintner, the chief of the F.B.I. laboratory’s evidence response team unit, said the agency used scents only to follow a trail to a suspect or to a place associated with him, and not to identify one person out of several. The 2004 F.B.I. report warned that dog scent work “should not be used as primary evidence,” but only to corroborate other evidence.
In several of the cases that were based on Deputy Pikett’s dogs, however, the scent lineups appear to have provided the primary evidence, even when contradictory evidence was readily available. Mr. Bickham spent eight months in jail after being identified in a scent lineup by Deputy Pikett’s dogs, until another man confessed to the killings. In an interview, Mr. Bickham scoffed at the accusation that he had taken part in three murders, noting that he has been hobbled by bone spurs and diabetes and is partially blind.
Ronald Curtis, another Houston man jailed on the basis of Deputy Pikett’s dogs, was released from jail nine months after being accused of a string of burglaries. Store videos showed that the burglar did not resemble him. “Nobody was listening,” Mr. Curtis said.
Both he and Mr. Bickham are filing civil lawsuits over their treatment in federal court on Wednesday.
The first person to file such a suit, in January, was Michael Buchanek, a retired captain with the Victoria County, Tex., Sheriff’s Department and a client of Mr. Easley. After Deputy Pikett’s dogs identified him, Mr. Buchanek said the police “just kept telling me, ‘the dogs don’t lie — we know you did it.’ ” After months of uncertainty, DNA evidence implicated another man who later confessed to the crime.
As Mr. Easley examined the case, he sought the opinion of animal investigation experts who reviewed Deputy Pikett’s work and responded with incredulity. Robert Coote, the head of a British canine police unit, reviewed videos of Deputy Pikett’s scent lineup in the Buchanek case and stated, “If it was not for the fact that this is a serious matter, I could have been watching a comedy.”
Mr. Easley shared his findings with colleagues at the Innocence Project of Texas, a legal defense organization, which released a report last month that excoriated dog scent lineups as a “junk science injustice.” Jeff Blackburn, the chief counsel for the group, said Deputy Pickett merely gave the police the match they had hoped for.
Mr. Myers, the animal behavior expert, suggested that handlers like Deputy Pikett might believe in the dogs and the methods, but might allow samples to become contaminated or inadvertently allow the dogs to pick up on subtle, even unconscious signals from handlers or detectives.
“They just don’t realize they’re doing it wrong,” he said.
Randall Morse, an assistant Fort Bend county attorney who is representing Deputy Pikett, said the dogs provided information, not conclusions of guilt or innocence.
“Pikett doesn’t arrest anybody,” Mr. Morse said. “Our dogs don’t say, You murdered somebody. They don’t even say, You committed a crime. They just say, We picked up your scent.”
Mr. Morse said scent lineups had proved their worth, as in the case of Bart Whitaker, a Texan who hired friends to kill his family in 2003. Deputy Pikett’s dogs helped identify the trigger man from eight suspects. Mr. Whitaker is now on death row, and his accomplices are in prison.
“We believe in this stuff,” Mr. Morse said.
Mr. Blackburn of the Innocence Project noted that the Whitaker case involved a great deal of corroborating evidence beyond the dogs.
“Our estimate right now is we’ve got 15 to 20 people who are in prison right now based on virtually nothing but Pikett’s testimony,” he said. “That’s a big problem.”
Donna Hawkins, a spokeswoman for the Harris County district attorney’s office in Houston, said she could not comment on the dispute over dog scent lineups or on the re-examination of cases that involved them. “Cases will be evaluated on an individual basis, considering all relevant evidence,” Ms. Hawkins said.
As for Mr. Bickham, he said he had lost his home while in jail and had struggled to restart his barbecue stand; he sold his cars to hire his lawyer. These days, he said, he is easily agitated, cries readily and is taking antidepressants.
“I lost everything,” Mr. Bickham said, because of “a nothing case.”

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Re: Dogs don't lie...Oh dear !

Post by Catkins on Fri Nov 06, 2009 12:38 am

Interesting Marilyn..........confirms what we've always said and thought........
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Re: Dogs don't lie...Oh dear !

Post by dianeh on Fri Nov 06, 2009 8:17 am

Mmmm, I agree, oh dear!!!
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Re: Dogs don't lie...Oh dear !

Post by kazcut on Fri Feb 05, 2010 2:30 am

interesting read from the independent
dogs do smell pigs ,what about dreadlock man who was there that night ?or could he have been asked for some dead pig ???from who /why? god knows



The CSI death dogs: Sniffing out the truth behind the crime-scene canines




No one knows how they do it, but they are the police's secret weapon

By Laura Spinney


Wednesday, 28 May 2008

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Animal magic: handler Mick Swindells and Shep © Nigel Hillier



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At the former children's home at Haut de la Garenne in Jersey, a sensational discovery was made in February; a fragment of what might have been human bone. It was unearthed by a dog trained to detect human remains.



Forensic experts have pored over it, but the fragment is very small, and with no DNA to go on, it has been difficult to establish whether it is animal or vegetable. On its identity rests not only the question of whether an abuse inquiry is now a murder inquiry, but also the credibility of the policeman's best friend, the sniffer dog.

Dogs' sense of smell is far more acute than that of humans – the nose of a German shepherd contains about 200 million olfactory cells, while a human nose has about 20 million. This superior canine sense has been put to use in criminal investigations for centuries. Dogs used in law enforcement today have an impressive range of skills, from sniffing out explosives to locating earthquake survivors – as in recent weeks in China – and matching criminal suspects to their scent trails – but the speciality in the spotlight in Jersey is the human cadaver dog.

The case has led to some criticism of the faith that police place in these dogs. Nobody really knows how they do it. The dogs don't always get it right, yet the police regard them as a valuable search-tool, to be used alongside other, more scientific techniques such as ground-penetrating radar and aerial photography.

One of the questions surrounding human cadaver dogs is how soon after death they can recognise a corpse, and how long a "fresh" corpse must remain in one place for a dog to detect that it has been there. In a study published last year, the forensic pathologist Lars Oesterhelweg, then at the University of Bern in Switzerland, and colleagues tested the ability of three Hamburg State Police cadaver dogs to pick out – of a line-up of six new carpet squares – the one that had been exposed for no more than 10 minutes to a recently deceased person.

Several squares had been placed beneath a clothed corpse within three hours of death, when some organs and many cells of the human body are still functioning. Over the next month, the dogs did hundreds of trials in which they signalled the contaminated square with 98 per cent accuracy, falling to 94 per cent when the square had been in contact with the corpse for only two minutes. The research concluded that cadaver dogs were an "outstanding tool" for crime-scene investigation.

But how good are dogs at detecting a skeleton from which all the flesh has fallen away? The anthropologist Keith Jacobi of the University of Alabama has investigated this at a police-dog training facility, where human remains ranging from fresh to skeletonised have been buried (the remains were bequeathed by donors).

In one study involving four dogs and their handlers, Jacobi says the dogs were able to detect remains at all stages of decomposition. Performance varied between dogs, but some could locate skeletonised remains buried in an area of 300ft by 150ft. "The few single human vertebrae I used in the study were well over 25 years old, and dry bone," Jacobi says. "This made the discovery of one of these vertebrae, which we buried in dense woods 2ft deep, by a cadaver dog pretty remarkable."

A trained human cadaver dog will not signal a living person or an animal (except pigs), but it will signal a recently deceased, putrefying or skeletonised human corpse. That suggests that the "bouquet of death" is discernible, but attempts to identify it have so far failed. Two of the by-products of decomposition, putrescine and cadaverine, have been bottled and are commercially available as dog training aids. But they are also present in all decaying organic material, and in human saliva.

A human cadaver dog's detection skills depend greatly on its training, and the problem is that human remains are hard to come by. Trainers often use a combination of available "pseudoscents", and pigs. The problem with pseudoscents, says Mick Swindells, a retired police handler who works as a freelance trainer and handler in Blackpool, is that they represent a "snapshot" of death. As decomposition proceeds, the chemistry of the corpse evolves, causing its odour to change. "I'm trying to train a dog to find the whole video, not just a snapshot," he says. Pigs decompose in similarly to humans, and when buried they disturb the ground in a similar way.

A number of research groups are searching for a more precise chemical signature of death. One approach is the "head space" technique perfumers use to identify the components of a scent in order to recreate it in the lab. In this case, small amounts of gas are collected from samples of dead flesh, or from soil in which remains have been buried. The volatile organic compounds given off by the dead flesh are analysed, using a method called gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, to identify their components.

At Cranfield University in Shrivenham, Wiltshire, the forensic anthropologist Anna Williams and student Helena Rogers are involved in one such project, using pig carcasses. Their goal is to determine if there is an association between the stage of decomposition, the odour profile and the accuracy of the cadaver dogs' detection. Synthetic versions of the different odours could also be used in training.

Belgian researchers have gone further. Using the same "head space" technique, the chemist Bart Smedts of the Royal Military Academy in Brussels and Joan de Winne of the Federal Police identified one compound, dimethyl sulphide, that is a general marker of putrefaction across a range of species, including human. Dogs trained to detect human remains will signal to dimethyl sulphide. The researchers claim to have identified other, species-specific combinations of chemicals.

De Winne says a portable "head space" device could be used instead of, or as well as, a cadaver dog to detect dimethyl sulphide. The researchers are also investigating other "biosensors", including turkey vultures and parasitic wasps. "Each biosensor has its advantages and disadvantages," de Winne says. "Vultures can cover a large area. Parasitic wasps can be trained in half an hour, but they live for only a few days."

Mark Harrison, national search adviser for the UK National Policing Improvement Agency in Wyboston, Bedfordshire, is all for developing new search tools. He has advised police and rescue services on search strategy in major incidents, including the Asian tsunami of 2004. In the aftermath of that disaster, he used computers to model wave action to help guide the dogs and their handlers towards the "capture points" where victims were likely to have been washed up. But, he says: "If you ask me, 'Will a machine replace dogs?' I would say no."

Swindells says: "The best thing about using a dog to detect cadavers, as opposed to machines, is that dogs have the ability to think. But that's also the worst thing about using dogs." This means that cadaver dogs appear to have sufficient intelligence to recognise a corpse across a range of environmental conditions. However, they can also be distracted, for example by methane produced naturally in a peat bog (corpses also produce methane).

One indisputable advantage dogs have over machines is that they can quickly narrow down a search when a large area has to be covered. Adee Schoon of Leiden University, a scientific adviser to the canine department of the Netherlands National Police Agency, sums up the attitude of many who work with human cadaver dogs: "We use dogs as intelligent samplers, to tell us where to look further."

So, although death dogs may not always get it right, their discoveries can make the difference between solving a crime and leaving dark secrets buried for ever.

Dog nose best

In 2000, freelance dog handler Mick Swindells and his Border collie Shep, a trained human cadaver dog, were called to a 15-acre field near Nottingham to help locate the suspected grave of a murder victim. Shep signalled in one spot and the surrounding area was quickly dug, but nothing was found. Later that day, police returned with an informant, who identified the grave. Shep had been out by a metre.

It transpired that, in digging the grave, the murderer had put his spade through a field drain, causing volatile compounds from the decomposing cadaver to enter the drain. About a metre downhill of the cadaver, the drain was broken, preventing those compounds from dispersing further. The drain had, in effect, separated the body from its scent, and Shep had signalled the dislodged source of that scent – the breakage in the drain.

On another occasion, Swindells and one of his dogs were searching a house when the dog signalled. A cache of bones was found beneath the floorboards at the spot – but they were later identified as pig. Pig carcasses are used in training cadaver dogs. But why would anybody hide a dead pig? The dating of the bones gave a clue: they had probably been buried during the Second World War, when pork was rationed and penalties for dabbling in the black market were severe.

kazcut
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