US state gets first porn-seeking dog to help battle child pornography

URL with its handler, Detective Cam Hartman.
URL with its handler, Detective Cam Hartman. PHOTO: WEBER COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

The western US state of Utah has a new weapon to battle child pornography - a 16-month-old black labrador retriever named URL (pronounced "Earl").

Rescued from a shelter as a puppy, URL's highly sensitive nose can detect unique chemical compounds that are found in electronic hardware such as thumb drives, phones, SIM cards, tablets and iPads.

It underwent six months of training in Indiana to be hone its "porn-seeking" skills, reported New York Daily News.

URL also hails from an elite group of dogs, of which there are only nine certified electronic detection K-9s in the US.

While it cannot specifically tell which devices contain child pornography, its main role is to find small electronic devices that suspects might try to hide, according to local TV station KSL.com.


URL sniffing out a suspected device during a demonstration. PHOTO: WEBER COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

"You're talking micro SD cards," said Lieutenant Lane Findlay of the Weber County Sheriff's Department.

"Very small devices that can basically be hidden anywhere that would be difficult to detect without probably tearing the whole place apart."

In a demonstration last week, URL succeeded in uncovering six devices hidden around a room.

Utah's fight against pornography saw its governor Gary Herbert declare the problem a "public health crisis" back in April.

The state reportedly won a bid for URL due to its high rate of porn consumption.