Turning police dogs into robodogs.

There is much excitement in U.K police forces about the new innovation of turning their police dogs into what some sections of the the media have dubbed “Robodogs.” if it is not already enough to have them risking injury and death in their duties of tracking villains, chasing and restraining them, sniffing bank notes, drugs and firearms and spending a lot of their lives crammed into the back of police cars, they now have to wear a one kilo helmet as well as body armour.

According to the police, “The camera is exactly what we have been looking for to move our firearms support capabilities forward. The camera is simple to use, fits in perfectly with our IT systems and is cost-effective.

“Dogs do not have an issue wearing them”

Apparently “the camera is light, comfortable and mounts easily to the dog’s head weighing 1kg and has been designed to be comfortable for the dog to wear. The dogs really haven’t had an issue getting used to it.” But if dogs could talk they might not entirely agree with the description or of being viewed as a mobile four-legged tripod to mount the thing on. It is hardly natural. Unfortunately I can visualise that it will not be long before these camera helmets will be available to everyone and we will see dogs hurtling around parks and the countryside taking videos for vloggers.

How long will it be before police dogs have guns strapped to them.

The stated hope is that these helmets will “transform firearms situations” and this means that the dogs will be sent in first to film the situation before sending in a human officer, but will be no help if the dog is attacked. The dogs will still face the same risks as when they are presently sent in to tackle armed offenders, but at least we will have video of it for the tv documentaries. One wonders how long it will be before remote guns are strapped to them.

They will join the ranks of their comrades in the military in having to endure protective clothing and perform dangerous duties to save their human comrades but hopefully not suffering the same horrific injuries like Kuno, the British military dog.

Robot dog.
Could these robot dogs perhaps replace them one day?

Of course, we already have robodogs in the form of Robot Dogs but these are sill under training, less mobile and probably out of the police’s price range, but who knows they might replace police and military dogs in the future, but only if they can be taught/programmed to smell.

Although loved by their handlers and riders police dogs and horses have always been treated as pieces of police equipment or property. After much pressure over the years it has been an offence since 2019 to injure a police animal under Finn’s law, but as we know human officers are attacked on a daily basis so what hope for the dogs and horses.  It still raises the question of whether it is ethically and morally fair to intentionally put animals in harm’s way in the first place?  Would it not be better to restrict them to ceremonial use or purely as “search” and “sniffer” dogs who appear to have a fun time at work.

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Emotional Support Animals (ESA’s). America finally sees sense.

America has finally banned the carriage of Emotional Support Animals in aircraft cabins following abuse of the system and taking exotic animals on board.

Finally, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) took action in December 2020 to amend the Air Carrier Act and stop the carriage of Emotional Support Animals in aircraft cabin. It is now restricted to proven trained service dogs only which have been “individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability”. Under the new rules, animals such as pigs, ponies, turkeys, snakes and possums and other exotic animals will rightly be designated as pets and must be paid for and travel in the holds.

US airlines can now refuse animals.

Airlines now have the leverage to refuse to take such animals and it is not surprising that within weeks virtually every US airline immediately banned ESA’s. Alaskan airlines were the first quickly followed by United, American and Delta. United airlines have stated that “the change will further ensure a safe and accessible travel experience for our customers”. Well any sane person can understand that, but there has still been an outcry from individuals insisting they need a cockerel or a peacock or crocodile or whatever to steady their nerves.

Emotional Support Animals ESA

I wrote an article a year ago on the farce of so-called Emotional Support animals in America varying from ponies to possums being allowed in the cabins of aircraft to ease the flying worries of their owners. In most instances it was more a case of attention seeking or a chance to outdo each other with photographs and video on social media. For some it was a chance for their pets to travel free. Agencies suddenly sprang up to provide dubious accreditation for the animals and also online sites offering fraudulent certificates.

U.K. airlines do not allow pets in cabin.

UK airlines sensibly have never allowed or been able to take alleged ESAs in the cabin as they have no legal status, but organisations have been established to lobby for such animals to be accepted as legitimate which would allow them into restaurants and other restricted areas like a guide dog. One is the UK Emotional Support Animal Registry established in 2017 who may now have to amend their plans. As in America there are apparently scams regarding registering animals in the U.K.

The number of ESA’s carried on aircraft in the USA jumped from 481,000 in 2016 to 751,000 in 2017 and a 14% increase in 2018. And there has been a sharp increase in “negative incidents” caused by animals and we can imagine what these were. Strangely many cabin crew appeared to welcome these animal passengers.

The airlines quite rightly have been arguing about the stupidity of the situation for a long time and pointed out all the health and safety issues involved to both cabin crew and other passengers, but it had fallen on mainly deaf ears until now. The Airlines for America lobbying organisation has been pushing for the change for over a year. The question is what took so long?

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