As the FBI raided former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle’s Indiana home in July, a highly-trained, sniffing dog named Bear was at their side, searching for clues.
“It’s sort of like drug dealers. They think they’re so slick, and then they’re brought down by a friendly Labrador retriever, wagging his tail. The next thing you know, they’re in prison,” Dennis Clark, CEO of Tactical Detection K9, told INSIDEEDITION.com.
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“He’s man’s best friend – unless you’re a pervert,” he quipped.
Bear, a two-year-old black Labrador, sniffed out a hidden flash drive in the home. Several weeks later, Fogle agreed to plead guilty to having X-rated images of minors, and to paying for sex with a teenage girl.
Bear is not your average K9. Clark’s company took around six to eight months to train him to sniff out specific compounds within electronic data devices. Clark believes Bear, along with Daisy, a dog he just sold to a metro-area securities firm, are the only officially recognized dogs in the U.S. trained to sniff out the compounds. He’s currently training Brody, a third, to join the ranks.
“We got him from a family. He’s a loving Lab,” said Clark, adding that Bear is extremely social, not afraid of things like dark rooms and loud noises, and, of course, has an incredible sense of smell.
“Years ago, The FBI came to our company. We were just training drug detection dogs. They asked us if it would be possible to train a dog to detect things like SIM cards and memory sticks,” said Clark.
“We took the memory devices to a lab and had them find one component that we can train the dog to find. They isolated that one component. Bear was imprinted on that odor.”
Clark said these dogs “have a really keen sense of smell. When we trained Bear, we went on six search warrants with the FBI before Jared’s case.”
His team didn’t know the raid would be on Fogle’s home until they arrived. “They don’t ever tell you who’s involved, or what the raid specifically is,” said Clark.
“Once you got in the house, it was everything from Subway. Some people will decorate with country ducks, this million-dollar home was decorated with Subway,” he said.
With Bear’s help, the FBI found the flash drive. “Bear was definitely rewarded – he got lots of treats,” said Clark. “I would have bought him a steak,” he joked.
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Shortly after the story broke and Bear was mentioned as helping in the investigation, Clark got a call from the Seattle Police Department.
“They saw the story and their task force called up right after the story broke, and said, ‘We want to buy him.’"
The department purchased the dog for a cool $9,500.
A bomb-sniffing dog not trained to find electronic data devices costs around $4,500-$5,000, he said.
He’s also gotten calls from child pornography task forces in Texas and Florida, and is hoping to make some ins with the U.S. military.
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