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NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 41 Issue: 9 Dated: (September 1993) Pages: 104-106
T W Burke
Date Published
3 pages
Police agencies in several parts of the country are using pot-bellied pigs on a trial basis to sniff out narcotics.
These pigs originated in Vietnam and first came to the United States via Canada in 1986. Although the pigs have not replaced drug-sniffing dogs, they have several qualities that could be quite useful to law enforcement. Although they have poor eyesight, their senses of smell and hearing are exemplary. Unlike dogs, they can smell things underground as well as on the surface. Owners also claim that pot-bellied pigs are smarter than dogs and can learn to respond to spoken words and commands within days. Although they cannot climb easily, they are much lighter and more transportable than dogs. They are also cost-effective for law enforcement. They cost $300-500 each, are cheaper to feed than dogs, and can live up to 20 years. They can be bred as early as five months of age and can produce three litters per year. They are easily housebroken and will use a litter box. They can be taught to sit, walk with a leash, ride in a car, and lie down. They do not shed and thus can be used by police officers with allergies. Police agencies interested in learning more about these pigs should seek the advice of experts familiar with these animals and should also check local zoning laws and ordinances. Photographs