Euthanizing Police Dogs Following Cannabis Legalization?

By Cara Anderson

IG: @carajojo

Illinois police officials said that legalizing recreational weed would result in them euthanizing some 275 police dogs.

Police dogs are trained to sit when they’ve discovered a scent, they aren’t trained to notify an officer which scent they’ve found. This would pose a problem for Illinois police officers, but K-9 units are multipurpose; trained to detect narcotics as well as apprehending suspects. If the dogs can’t be retrained to ignore cannabis, they can still work with police.

Chad Larner, training director of the K-9 Training Academy, left, and Macon County Sheriff Howard Buffett discuss concerns about what will happen to police dogs if Illinois lawmakers legalize recreational marijuana. PHOTO: Clay Jackson, Pantagraph News Service file photo

In Oregon, Colorado, Canada, and other places where recreational cannabis is legal, police dogs are being retrained or retired.

Sheriff Buffet told local newspaper The Pantagraph, “The biggest thing for law enforcement is, you’re going to have to replace all of your dogs, so to me, it’s a giant step forward for drug dealers, and it’s a giant step backwards for law enforcements and the residents of the community.”

Euthanasia is a stretch, and the claims elicited responses such as Reddit user NoDogYet’s comment that the police “…trying to pull at people’s heartstrings to prevent marijuana legalization is despicable.”

Training director of the Macon County, Illinois, K-9 Training Academy and Sherriff Howard Buffet have since retracted their statements about euthanizing the dogs.