This is the decision parents have before them in Kansas City, MO. The local station (WDAF-TV) recently featured a unique business called Metro K9 Detection Services. They specialize in providing drug sniffing dogs to “cost effectively” detect the most common drugs in your home and other residential areas.
“They try to associate us with law enforcement and we’re not. My dog just happens to know some very expensive tricks,” says founder Ray McCarty.
Metro K9 allows clients to rent one of their dogs by the hour. McCarty was inspired by the K9 sweeps at his son’s school. He saw how many kids were being sent to juvenile detention centers.
“That’s getting kids in trouble that day and that’s not what we are about. We’re about being a deterrent,” McCarty tells WDAF-TV.
Metro K9 will work with alternative schools, like Shelterwood Academy in Independence, MO. Shelterwood helps students with substance abuse problems.
“When the kids know that there is a drug dog on campus, it lets them know that we are on top of things and that we are taking care to know what’s going on,” said Chad Smith, Shelterwood Academy program director.
As the company’s Facebook page describes, the K9s are “carefully trained to safely and reliably work in a wide array of locations, including, homes, schools and workplace environments. When a sniffer dog detects an odor (residual or otherwise), it is trained to let the handler know with a passive signal. This allows drug discovery to be managed at our client’s discretion.”
Their website gives a bit more detail: “Metro K9 Drug Detection Services provide a confidential and discreet drug detection service for your home. Our narcotic detection dogs will professionally perform a thorough inspection of your entire property and vehicles. We recommend searching the premises when the suspected drug user is not present to avoid possible conflicts with the animal. This can also reduce family stress. If the dog picks up a scent, it will alert our handler, who will mark the location. The client can then decide how to handle the discovery.”
Generally parents will have the dogs sweep while their kids are not home, according to McCarty. Many flush the drugs and “never say anything.” McCarty says he never contacts the police.
“It makes them feel better. We aren’t going to say anything because it’s none of our business. We are just there to do a job. We do it, and we leave.”
Not all parents agree however.
“If I feel like my son is doing drugs, I’m going to do what I have to do to find out,” said Shelly Parker, a metro mother of nine.
“What about the trust in your kid after that? Would your kid trust you again?” asked Ted Overman, a father of four teens.
The dogs, Phoenix and Coco are trained the same way police dogs are. McCarty has a license to use drug scented toys to train them.
Metro K9’s services start at $200. Another company is training dogs to detect weapons.