The K9 Canine Unit of the Secretariat of Citizen Security (SSC) of the municipality of Puebla is made up of 33 dogs of different breeds, which receive training to detect the transportation of narcotics in the capital of Puebla.
In an interview with Poblanerías.com Luis Alberto Vázquez Osorio, in charge of the K9 Canine Unit, commented that the canine squad is made up of dogs of the following breeds: golden retriever, Belgian Malinois shepherd, Labrador, and even Dutch shepherd.
Due to their physiognomy, attachment with people, as well as a good agility and olfactory system, these breeds are helpful for the detection of narcotics, explosives and corpses, according to their specialty.
He commented that the main operations in which the animals participate are related to the detection of narcotics either to vehicles, people, inside parcels or truck stations.
"On occasion, operations are carried out, which are inspection posts at different points in the municipality of Puebla. Those are the patrols carried out by the colleagues with the support of the specimens for detection," he pointed out."
In such operations, he assures, the largest seizure is of marijuana, although they have also detected other types of drugs such as cocaine.
They also search for lifeless people
The animals are not only trained to detect narcotics. They also search for corpses at the request of other agencies such as the State Attorney General's Office (FGE) or the Search for Persons Commission.
"The corpse specialty can be that the body is fresh, putrefied or drowned, these are the three scents they have. Because a person, when he loses his life, has different types of aroma, what he releases from the body.", he stated.
He explains that you can trace the body of a person who drowned through the scent they give off; or, of those who are buried, regardless of time, dogs are able to detect a specific scent.
The processes in the K9 Canine Unit
Luis Alberto Vázquez commented that, in order to acquire specimens of this type, the SSC must follow a protocol, buy them through a supplier who selects them, according to the indicated needs and so they can function within the Canine Unit.
"The dogs already come with a previous training, with the characteristics and scent. What we do is a change of hand; that is, the trainer is a command and what he does is to give us the horses and give us a period to make that change of command", he said.
That is why it is important to choose the right handler for that type of specimen, because they must make a link, that is, the dog must accept the person and vice versa.
They usually train in the facilities of the K9 Canine Unit, where they have the necessary spaces for this purpose. They even have the simulation of possible scenarios where drugs can be found, as if it were a bus station, for example.
Their food is also important, due to the physical wear and tear involved in their different tasks, depending on their specialty. That is why -per day- the 33 dogs eat two bags of food for their species.
A daily operation, he said, consists of going out with a binomial (dog and handler) specialized in narcotics and another in explosives. The dogs begin a walk that ultimately has a reward if they manage to locate their target.
"What we do in any type of patrol, is that, the dog to work well must be relaxed, then you have to give them 15 minutes walk in a green area to run and to play with his toy, with which he is rewarded after making a location," he comments.
After the walk, when the handler considers that the dog is already relaxed and can work, they proceed to enter the site where the search will take place, regardless of the specialty. Then, on leash, they begin to inspect the area.
If someone requests the search, the handler should converse with this person to learn the circumstances and decide on the work strategy.
Finally, when the dogs are of advanced age and cannot continue within the squadron, the ideal is that they remain until their last days with their handler, since there is already a previous relationship and there is confidence that they will take care of them and have a good quality of life.
He pointed out that, this type of dogs cannot be given for adoption, due to the fact that they can be misused for the tasks they learned to develop.
Text: Karen Mojica
Photos: Rodrigo Peña
Translation done by: Karla Giselle Bonales Ramírez