A vape-sniffing dog will soon be in schools in Lake County, Florida. School officials and the Sheriff’s office have decided to turn to man’s best friend in the new year in the hopes of curbing nicotine usage in local middle and high schools. Specifically, the pup will assist in cracking down on vaping among students, WINK News reports.
$63,000 worth of funding has already been approved to facilitate the K-9 scent detection training. The dog, a 1-and-a-half-year-old Golden Retriever named Samba, will be able to sniff out nicotine, THC, and e-cigarettes. After training is completed, Samba will begin visiting schools alongside her handler, Erica Stamborski.
Superintendent speaks on vaping dangers
Earlier this year, Lee County Schools installed a new weapon detection system with the hopes that it would detect both weapons and e-cigarettes. However, the system proved not to be as effective in detecting vaping devices as administrators had initially hoped.
Undoubtedly, having a drug-sniffing canine walking the hallways will send a clear signal to students about acceptable behavior. Given the dog’s detection abilities, school leaders believe the Golden Retriever will serve as an effective deterrent to vape usage — at least on campuses.
Diana Kornegay, Lake County Schools Superintendent, expressed concern over the skyrocketing popularity of vaping among students while speaking to FOX35.
“We know that vaping is very dangerous, and students don’t know what’s in the vape,” she said. “We know there are things put into them that can be very dangerous. We’ve seen students lose lives and be hospitalized as a result of vaping.”
Some of the life-threatening side effects of vaping include lung damage, anxiety, depression, and sleeping difficulties.
Kornegay stated they would do anything to deter vaping and help students focus on healthier habits and choices. She believes that, “Samba’s part of the team to help us do that.”
Kimberly Boyd is an Orlando resident whose 28-year-old son died in 2019 following a vaping-related cardiac arrest. She believes bringing a drug-sniffing dog to schools will yield positive results.
“I think it’s a fabulous idea [what] they’re doing to try and discourage these children because they don’t know,” Boyd said. She added, “The parents don’t know all the dangers at risk with these vape pens. They’re dangerous.”
According to the school district, a community member donated the dog for the task.