CHARLESTON — An old dog can learn new tricks, according to one local K-9 handler and trainer.
The discussion on what might be done with K-9 dogs if marijuana is legalized for recreational use in Illinois has been exaggerated, Lt. Heath Thornton of Charleston Police Department indicated Monday.
K-9 dogs are trained how to sniff out and alert officers to the presence of marijuana, heroin, cocaine and other drugs, and Thornton said retraining these dogs to avoid alerting on pot is not as impossible as some are making it sound.
“They always say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks but you really can,” Thornton said. “It will be a bit challenging; however, it can be done.”
Comments by those familiar with the K-9 program stirred up controversy over what might be done with the approximately 275 certified narcotic detection K-9s across the state who are trained alert on pot.
Most notably, the training director of the K-9 Training Academy in Macon County made comments that the dogs