Spaniel Sniffs Out Underage Drinkers In Norway

An English Springer Spaniel has apparently been trained to detect underage drinkers or would-be drinkers in Norway.

With her sensitive nose,Tutta allegedly can smell the fear on young teenagers when they try to buy alcohol with bogus documentation.

Vinmonopolet, the country’s government-owned liquor retailer,uses the perceptive pooch to spot anyone who is nervously trying to use a false ID in a liquor store. In Norway, the legal drinking age is 18. As it is, the retailer rejects about 10,000 purchasers per year because they are underage or lack a valid ID, a Norwegian news outlet reports.

According to the LifewithDogs website in describing the program, “When someone is nervous they secrete substances into the skin and Tutta has been trained to detect them. Tutta makes visits to various stores and sniffs out those who may be using a fake ID to purchase alcohol.”

Along with Tutta’s participation,Norway has launched a national campaign to discourage the use of false IDs by adolescents who are trying to buy booze. Offenders who get caught can be fined, jailed, and denied visas to study outside of Norway.

According to the National Institutes of Health, underage drinking is a huge health problem here in the US. “Each year, approximately 5,000 young people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking; this includes about 1,900 deaths from motor vehicle crashes, 1,600 as a result of homicides, 300 from suicide, as well as hundreds from other injuries such as falls, burns, and drownings (1–5).”

Among the interventions listed by the NIH for preventing underage drinking include raising the price of alcohol and/or the legal drinking age, enacting zero-tolerance laws or stepping the enforcement of existing laws, along with school-based and family-based prevention programs.

The videos below show Tutta in action (although it helps if you understand Norwegian):

[top image credit: Ellen Levy Finch]