Dogs Worth Their Weight in Marijuana

Dallas County leaders recently criticized canine unit as too costly.

Dallas County police dogs sniffed out nearly 130 pounds of marijuana on Wednesday, two weeks after county leaders said the canine unit was too costly.

The county spent a little more than $100,000 to set up a canine unit inside the sheriff's department.

On Tuesday, the dogs discovered $75,000 worth of marijuana in boxes on a North Dallas loading dock.

"The dogs alerted immediately, and it gave us the probable cause to open the packages," Deputy Terry Trout said.

The newly created unit recently came under fire for being too costly.

Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price even questioned the unit's "appropriateness."

He said he feared the dogs' handlers would incur excessive overtime while caring for the animals on their own time.

"It's no different then cleaning your gun," Price said. "If it's part of your arsenal, we don't pay you overtime so you can go clean your gun."

But Sheriff Lupe Valdez said that won't happen, saying the department was "very careful" in setting up the unit.

She said federal drug forfeiture money paid for the unit's creation and operating expenses.

"We are not using any taxpayer money, but the taxpayers are going to benefit from this," Valdez said.

She said the county needs drug-sniffing dogs because three of the 10 major drug routes in the United States run through Dallas County.

"With these dogs, we are going to keep the area safer, and we are going to take drugs off the streets," Valdez said.

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