DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The ATF has several of its bomb sniffing K9’s patrolling the NFL Experience here at the Dallas Convention Center. And many of the dogs have experience working high profile assignments like the Super Bowl.
Terry McGrath is a Lewisville firefighter. But he and his dog Retha, a four year old labrador retriever, are part of the ATF’s explosives team working during Super Bowl week. “These events are a lot of work for the dog and a lot of work for the handler, more so for the dog. We work a lot of odd hours and we’re here late at night.” says McGrath.
McGrath and Retha searched for explosives during the World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. So did ATF special agent Randall Dockens of Fort Worth and his 7 year old black lab, Charlie.
Dockens and Charlie have also worked in Afghanistan and Iraq. The experience will help them at this major event too. “We travel a lot. he adopts quickly to new environments, new buildings. I tell everybody it’s like a big game of hide and seek.”
The dogs can smell as many as 19,000 different chemical compounds. Their sense of smell can be more effective than equipment during certain situations. The dogs earn their badges after an initial 16 week training course.
Ray Neely, who trains dogs at the ATF K-9 Training Center in Virginia, says the ATF says each dog must score 100 percent on a test each year. “That makes us feel confident they can take this skill they have and demonstrate on an annual basis and go out in the field for the next year and be comfortable that they can find anything we encounter.”
That will come in handy as they sweep Cowboys Stadium for explosives before the big game. And the ATF says it will have more dogs than ever at the Super Bowl, and that’s because of the sheer size of Cowboys Stadium.