Police Dogs Overdose on Fentanyl, Live to Tell the Tale

It’s no secret that there is a very serious drug problem in the United States right now. Many individuals are struggling with addiction problems and this means there are more and more drug busts being done by police departments and sheriff’s offices all over the country. A crucial component of these busts is police dogs; these specially trained K9s are used to detect drugs in homes and successfully locate criminals. However, these police dogs are now facing a very real danger while in the line of duty.

These dogs are accidentally ingesting fentanyl and there are very serious consequences for both dogs and their human handlers. It takes a very minimal amount of this dangerous drug in order to cause and overdose in humans or even in dogs. There was a recent situation in Broward County, Florida that raised the awareness of officials. The sheriff’s office led an investigation in a residential home when investigating a heroin ring with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). During this time, drug sniffing dogs were brought in to locate drugs like marijuana. However, after some time in the home it was clear that the dogs were in trouble.

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Once the three dogs were loaded back into the police vehicles, they began acting oddly. Primus the German Shorthair Pointer, for example, had a very aimless stare, did not respond to commands, and was not interested in toys- very out of character for the high energy dog. Packer and Finn, his fellow drug sniffing dogs that were also on the investigation, were not acting themselves either.

Their handlers took them to a local veterinarian’s office quickly, to identify the problem they were experiencing. It turns out the dogs had accidently breathed in fentanyl during the investigation and were experiencing an overdose. Investigators treated the dogs and they survived, but have serious concerns for future investigations in which they will take great care to not be exposed to the drug.

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