POSTED: 4:41 pm PDT April 10, 2007
Sheriff deputies in the South Bay now have two new tools to help them fight terrorism, NBC11 reported.
The tools are far from high tech. They are four-legged partners who can sniff out bombs.
NBC11's Susan Siravo met one of the dogs Tuesday.
He is a yellow lab named Smaya.
Siravo said Smaya likes to relax and enjoys basking in the sun, but when it's time to go to work, he's all business.
Deputy Michael Saliba is Smaya's handler.
"He really wants to work so he can get his reward, that's what they thrive on," Saliba said.
Smaya is one of two highly trained dogs coming to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.
The other dog is a German shepherd named Jerry.
Their area of expertise is to sniff out bombs.
In all, eight dogs and their handlers arrived back in California last week after a two month training course in Israel.
The lab learned commands in Hebrew.
Smaya's handler said Israel has an environment where people have been dealing with suspicious packages and bombs and terrorism.
He said they have been dealing with it for decades.
The teams worked together to find bomb materials in highly populated areas in Israel like bus terminals.
Saliba said the dogs can remember a smell for 120 days..
Smaya's expertise will help deputies save time when investigating bomb scares because they can be on a case long before detectives pull out their high tech tools like robots.
Saliba said when Smaya finds a bomb, his body language will change and he will sit down.
Smaya and the rest of the dogs were given to various law enforcement agencies throughout the state.
The nonprofit "Pups For Peace" helped pay expenses along with funding from the Department of Homeland Security.
At the end of the day, Smaya goes home with his partner for some treats and a good night's rest.