More companies using drug dogs for detection on work sites
More companies in Saskatchewan are starting to use drug-sniffing dogs on construction and industrial sites to detect if their employees have drugs in their possession.
"The work we do kind of discourages people from bringing those things to the work place," said Barry Gay, the owner of a drug-sniffing dog company. "I think it helps companies out...and keeps people with two hands and two feet in the end."
Freya is a three year old German Shepard that has been trained to detect marijuana, cocaine and other drugs.
Dogs like her can go through a row of lockers in about 15 seconds — sniffing around to see if drugs are present.
Companies concerned about safety are hiring the dogs to sniff out drugs on site and even on employees themselves.
If the dogs do find something "then it's just a matter of the person has to do some explaining to their security people," said Gay.
But it may not be a foolproof way to keep drugs out of the workplace.
Shane Hjorth said he was fired after a dog from another company singled him out. He said it had nothing to do with contraband.
"The dog came in and went right into my bag," said Hjorth. "I had a big bag of beef jerky actually and he just ripped it apart and started eating it and that was that."
Hjorth started swearing at the dog handler and ended up getting fired for that, even though no drugs were found in his bag.
Stories like Hjorth's have made some people critical of drug-sniffing dogs in the workplace.
Saskatchewan Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council represents 10-thousand workers in the province and said it's worried about the qualifications of the dogs and their handlers.
"It's not that we even have issues with the dogs," said Terry Parker with the Council. "It's that we have issues with perhaps on how the dogs are used on the site and if it's infringing on the privacy and human rights of our members."
Gay said he agrees, saying there should be enforceable standards for drug-sniffing dogs to make sure companies like his are qualified and dogs like Freya are taken seriously.