Swine With a Badge Sniffs Out Dope in Oregon

From Associated Press

Harley is a pig in a dog's world.

The Vietnamese miniature potbellied pig is the newest animal member of the Portland Police, sniffing out drugs in a job usually reserved for canines.

Harley has his advantages. Pigs have keener noses and are cheaper to feed and train, says his trainer, Officer Ronald Cash.

On the other hand, pigs aren't known for their athletic ability. Cash realizes there will be times when he'll have to carry Harley instead of running.

No problem, says Cash, who's been assigned to prepare the 40-pound pig for the streets and take care of him at home.

"I hold him close to my chest so he can hear my heartbeat and he knows that I love him," says Cash, a former Army Ranger who works with the bureau's Gang Enforcement Team.

"You also have to grunt with him," he says. "It's part of the bonding process."

Police adopted Harley in June as a piglet.

Chief Charles Moose was looking for creative ideas to fight drugs.

Cash says he hopes to train Harley to sniff out marijuana, heroin and cocaine within a year. Eventually, he wants to convert half a patrol car's back seat for Harley.

For now, Cash takes his pig out on a leash almost every day. People stop, point and laugh once they realize he's not a dog.

But the officer doesn't feel the least bit foolish. In fact, he sees it as an honor.

"I wouldn't care if it was a rat," Cash says.

"I'd be just as proud to walk around with a hamster if it helps drug suppression."

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