Experts dismiss central Illinois cop’s claim that legalizing pot would lead to euthanizing drug-sniffing dogs

Local and national experts are holding their noses over a central Illinois cop’s claim that some drug-sniffing police dogs would have to be euthanized if the state legalizes recreational pot use.

Decatur police Detective Chad Larner’s comment to a local newspaper that the dogs would need to be put down because they can’t be retrained had even his police chief boss scratching his head and apologizing. Larner, in an email exchange with the Tribune, declined to talk and referred questions to the chief.

“It was a bad choice of words, and it’s a statement (Larner) wishes he didn’t make,” Decatur Chief of Police James Getz Jr. told the Tribune on Wednesday. “There are so many uses for these dogs. They are multipurpose dogs. … We anticipate those dogs are going to work with us for a long, long time.”

In the wake of Larner’s comments to The Pantagraph in Bloomington, experts on drug-sniffing police dogs have dismissed the assertion that dogs would have to be euthanized if recreational marijuana is legalized in Illinois. Even if some dogs cannot be retrained, they still can help officers in many tasks, including searching for evidence and stopping fleeing suspects.