"Tengu" The LSD Detector (2000-2013)
Only 18 pounds and 10 inches high and he could find LSD anywhere. Just LSD? ...Not likely! Tengu a diminutive Shiba Inu (Japanese breed dog) could locate marijuana, heroin, cocaine , methamphetamine and Amphetamines. In fact, in 1996 he was certified by the Texas Police K9 Association.
The Texas Police K9 Association is a major certifying agency in the State for law enforcement K9's. It has members from State police, municipal ,city police and federal agencies such as the Border Patrol. The testing official said identical statements when Tengu went in the room and when he left the room. He said, "That dog can find drugs?" upon entering the testing area and he said it again with an exclamation rather than a question mark when the dog was finished.
Tengu was tested along with 12 other police dogs and was one of only 5 that certified on all drugs. Rooms and cars have drugs surreptitiously placed in areas designed to confuse the handler and the teams have a time limit to find them. Not only was Tengu the smallest competitor among the Labradors, Shepherds and Malinois but was also one of the youngest. At only 7 months old he was by far the youngest "certified" narcotic detector dog in Canada.
He also claimed the distinction of being the only LSD detector dog in Canada and perhaps the USA at that time. Training to detect LSD was not done in the past because the substance is so dangerous to use. Chemical effects of a micro-dot can be absorbed through the skin and be disastrous to the animal. The SIGMA Chemical Company in St. Louis Missouri selected Bill to work with a drug dog training aid they developed called "pseudo LSD". The product, while safe to dogs, mimics the actual odor that real LSD emanates thereby allowing safe training conditions. Bill and Tengu worked with the new formula and then tested on real Lysergic Acid Diethylamide. The stuff worked, Tengu had proven to be able to locate quantities as small as 5 micro-dots hidden in cabinets, books and vehicles.
Why a small, friendly, "cute" dog to detect drugs and firearms? Bill decided it was time to train a small non-intrusive dog to detect contraband for use by private industry as well as law enforcement agencies. A small dog can travel easier, get into small confined spaces more comfortably and best of all, be accepted by the public. Besides training and teaching Bill's work entails contraband searches on offshore oil rigs, remote lumber camps and retail businesses and working with a big scary dog can be contra-productive. A dog like Tengu is accepted by adults and children alike and schools can use such a dog with positive results and acceptance.
Bill has been working with the United States government through the Texas Narcotic Control Program since 1993. His pilot project there has developed over 105 narcotic detector dog teams with various law enforcement agencies in the State. Working from the Fort Worth located Tarrant County Criminal Justice Center dogs and their handlers attend special training modules designed to teach the dogs exceptional detection capabilities. From time to time, dogs brought from Canada by Grimmer are tested along with the resident teams for their abilities. By 1995 the project has amassed over 13 million ($13,000,000) in assets and narcotic related seizures.
Text and pictures contributed by Bill Grimmer.