May 27, 2008, - 10:35 am

Who’s Your Doggie? – New Homeland Security Policy: DON’T Buy American . . . & Pay Four Times As Much

By Debbie Schlussel
More waste over at Michael “Serpenthead/Mr. Burns” Chertoff’s Department of Homeland (Non)Security.
While America’s economy is sputtering, our precious DHS has chosen to spurn Americans and pay four times as much to import bomb-sniffing dogs from Europe. Because we need to subsidize the European economy. Buy American? No way, at DHS:

The government imports hundreds of untrained bomb- and drug-sniffing dogs from Europe each year for as much as $4,535 apiece, four times the price charged by American breeders, says a federal report out [Friday].

drugsniffingdog.jpg

Who’s Your Doggie?: DHS’ Luxury European K-9s

Cost 4 Times More than American K-9s

The high canine price tags are prompting outrage from congressional and government spending critics and U.S. breeders, who say taxpayer money is being wasted.
“What kind of dogs are these – gold-plated?” asked Leslie Paige of Citizens Against Government Waste.
The Homeland Security Department’s inspector general (IG) found that the Customs and Border Protection division spent $1.46 million on 322 untrained dogs between April 2006 and June 2007. CBP has more than 1,000 trained dogs working at the nation’s borders, airports and seaports, and the number is expected to grow.
The report called the figure “reasonable” and “comparable” to what other government agencies pay. The Secret Service, which has 75 dogs, pays an average of $4,533 for its dogs. The Department of Defense, which gets a discount because it buys more dogs than other agencies, pays between $3,300 and $3,800 per dog, the IG found.

HUH? Two wrongs make a right? They’re all wasting money. Just because one agency or more are wasting money abroad when they could “Buy American” at 1/4th the price, doesn’t mean it’s “reasonable.” It isn’t.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., called it “irresponsible” that the government is spending so much, even before it pays $15,000 per canine team for 13 to 15 weeks of training.
A typical purebred in the USA sells for about $1,200. . . . “Using canines . . . is smart security,” Thompson says. But “paying $4,000 for an untrained European canine seems excessive, a waste of taxpayer money and does not support the breeders we have right here at home.”
Lee Titus, director of CBP’s Canine Enforcement Training Center in Front Royal, Va., where the dogs are trained, said 90% of the dogs come from overseas because Europe has a long history of breeding dogs with the proper temperament for security duties. U.S. breeders, he says, breed mostly “pretty” show dogs or pets.
Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan says the “bloodlines from Europe make the dogs very desirable for us.”
The government, which puts its requests for dogs out for competitive bidding, buys Belgian Malinoises, Labradors and shepherds.
Michelle Denson, who breeds Belgian Malinois dogs in Ocala, Fla., says her dogs are no different from European dogs. She says she has sold some to police departments for $1,000. “There’s plenty of American breeders who breed these kinds of dogs,” she says, “and they don’t charge this exorbitant amount of money.”

Hmmm . . . police departments all over America buy and train drug-sniffing dogs from American breeders. And they seem to work just fine for these real, actual street cops.
Sorry, but I don’t buy this “European breeding” BS from the snobby, money-wasting suits atop DHS. It’s just another excuse to live the high life and enjoy the finest at taxpayer expense. Just because dogs were bred on a continent where no-one uses deoderant, shaves their armpits, or takes a shower more than once a week, doesn’t mean they can sniff things any better.
Blue-blood dogs–You’re paying through the nose for them. Your tax dollars “at work.”
But . . . ah, next time a bomb or arms gets through Customs, we can blame Europe.

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5 Responses

But . . . ah, next time a bomb or arms gets through Customs, we can blame Europe.
You mean like http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_2870088.html ?
Japanese customs officers were left embarrassed after a sniffer dog failed to find marijuana planted in a passenger’s luggage.
They had to make a public announcement as the dog’s trainers couldn’t remember which bag they had stashed the drugs in, reports the Daily Telegraph.
An officer at Narita International Airport had stuffed five ounces of marijuana into the side pocket of a randomly selected black suitcase coming off an overseas flight.
“The dog couldn’t find it and the officer also forgot which bag he put it in,” a customs office spokeswoman said. “If by some chance passengers find it in their suitcase, we’re asking them to return it.”
Ok, drugs and Japan, but still.

laneh on May 27, 2008 at 1:27 pm

I know why – it’s the JOBS AMERICAN DOGS WON’T DO!

redtop on May 27, 2008 at 3:50 pm

Whenever you hear the words ‘competitive bidding’ watch out. Who’d want to drive over a bridge constructed by the low bidder? The thing about dogs may be just a diversionary tactic to try to mask (e.g. among the gullible people impressed by Obama’s ‘uncle’) the utter incompetence of Homeland Security. The problem isn’t lack of dogs, it’s lack of leadership trying to enforce border security, & of course these moochers love going to more ‘civilized’ Europe on the taxpayer’s dime.

c f on May 27, 2008 at 4:09 pm

Um, on the surface this story from USA Today reads like another boondoggle.
It ain’t necessarily so.
With tight budgets and many priorities, some of the best police departments in the US have found by experience that it is worth it, absolutely no question, to pay the $5000 and get a working dog from Europe. As stated towards the end of the article, the European dogs have the working dog bloodlines, and only dogs who have passed rigorous testing and have scored high enough are allowed to produce these dogs. The dogs themselves are trained from puppyhood at the appropriate ages how to behave. What the importer gets is an eighteen month old dog which has been trialed and has scored high in the working dog traits necessary to modern police dog work such as prey drive, defense drive, territoriality, knows and executes flawlessly 12 to 20 commands, and has the stamina to work 10+ hour patrol shifts requiring constant vigilance.
And generally speaking, American german shepherd dogs are not selected to be working dogs. They are selected to be show dogs. They are beautiful to look at. European dogs don’t look like that. They wouldn’t win a show. They will and do serve on patrol, which these days involves much more than sniffing suitcases, for 6 to 8 years, day in and day out, with dedication and willingness to die in the line of duty.
When an officer receives their dog, that dog is qualified for the rigorous training involved and has a very high chance of graduating the 14-week K-9 academy where he and his handler learn together. They become a team usually for the rest of the dog’s working life.
Many police departments have tried and found that bargain dogs – donated, or $1000, or whatever, are simply not worth the risk of washing out of the 14 week police training – paying the human officer’s salary for that time and then the disappointment of failure.
It sure would be interesting to know how the breeder with the Belgian Malinois, which is a much more energetic dog and takes a very mentally prepared and sharp handler, can offer to deliver an academy-ready 18 month old dog for $1200. Maybe an 8 week old puppy with training pads thrown in.
I’ll stop here. Anyone has any questions, please meet some K-9 officer teams from nationally ranked police departments. They are amazing.

glory on May 28, 2008 at 7:56 pm

Another editorial and opinion from someone that hasn’t done her homework. Typical. How about forming an informed opinion after seeing the work first hand.

Just an (original) thought….

LT on July 21, 2010 at 1:34 pm

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