Drug-sniffing dog for hire

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SAN DIEGO – Parents who suspect their child is using drugs may consider hiring a drug-sniffing dog to search their home.

Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 9.27.45 PMAfter adopting a two and half year old Labrador-hound mix from San Diego Humane Society, firefighter Troy Morrison trained him to be a drug-sniffing dog.

“Chewy will alert to drugs in the house or the lingering odor,” said Morrison. “He can sniff out drugs in places you’d probably never think of looking like your electrical outlet.”

These types of searches do have its critics who call it an invasion of privacy that could end up harming the relationship between parents and their children. For Karin Murphy, it’s a risk worth taking.

Murphy lost her son Seth to a heroin overdose in 2010 and has dedicated her time to spreading the message of drug addiction and the importance of intervening before it’s too late.

Karin and Seth Murphy

Karin and Seth Murphy

“I knew something was off, he said he just wanted to go take a nap. I let him go take a nap, four hours later I went in to check on him and he was blue,” said Murphy. “Bury your child and see how you feel then. You’re the parent and if the child is under 18, even if they’re older and living in your house, you have the right to know. I live with that guilt, why didn’t I go in sooner.”

The mother of three admitted searching her son’s room when she first became suspicious, but found nothing.

“I think it’s amazing. If I had known Troy back then, I would have brought him [and Chewy] in and searched my house,” said Murphy. “They hide [drugs] in places you would never think to look.”

Murphy told her kids over and over about the dangers of drugs and Seth still overdosed.

“By the time, you start thinking there might be a problem, the problem is bigger than you ever imagined it could be,” she said.

The cost for the search service starts at $150.


  • J Studer

    "… an invasion of privacy that could end up harming the relationship between parents and their children" ARE YOU JOKING?!! If your kid is hiding drugs you have a responsibility that is greater than worrying about the "Relationship". Whatever happened to — "I am the parent and you, you are the child".

  • kybo61

    My mother used to snoop through my stuff, read my diary, "clean" my room when I was at school. I would come home and feel terribly violated and betrayed, since I never knew when she was going to do it or where I could hide my diary next. She would lie about reading my diary then I would find out she had gone to the police with all the names of my friends I mentioned in it, claiming they were drug users or sellers, when all I did was mention them innocently. It got a lot of them in trouble with their parents for no reason, and I lost a lot of friends because of her. I also got beat up on the bus and at school. I never trusted her again and we are now permanently estranged (I'm 52, she's 87). I recommend face-to-face talking to your kids, cultivating your relationship, not going behind their back or using police tactics.

  • jstackerbridge

    This is very tricky. I would be very open about what you did as soon as you do it. I don't believe you would feel better if you waited and then you lose child or sibling because of it. So, they don't speak with you again. You know they are alive and that is what counts. My son once saved my brother's life because he walked into his room and found him in a seizure. We were told to go through his room by the paramedics to find what he was on so they could treat him and save his life. We found cocaine and that saved him. Guess what..he wasn't mad about it at all.

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