Drug Sniffing Dogs: Coming Soon to a Festival Near You?

Inspection Dogs

Fans at the Future Music Festival in Melbourne, Australia, had an unwelcome addition to the lineup — drug sniffing dogs. The canine police helped bust over seventy people trying to smuggle in party favors. With an attendance of 50,000 fans, it hardly seems worth the effort. Guess what, Melbourne police? Drugs still got in.

On the other hand, the local police did issue a warning previous to the festival that the dogs would be present so it’s on the attendees for ignoring that clear heads up. Police and detection dogs have assisted in 350 busts at Melbourne fests since December and for the past few years, the “sniff test” has been used at numerous Australian music festivals.

In the United States, dog searches aren’t just limited to the front entrance. Last year, 57 people were pulled over on their way to the Summer Camp Music Festival by law enforcement officers using a “decoy vehicle” –  a vehicle with flashing lights parked on the roadside that’s only there so that cops can pull you over for passing an emergency vehicle.  Once folks were pulled over, police ran the dogs around the car. Bless the judge who threw out most of the charges calling them “a subversion of the law.”

As we’ve said before many, many, times on this site, you can bring in thousands of police officers and all the drug sniffing dogs you want, but, and I want to be clear as possible on this: Festival fans will keep doing drugs. You can’t stop it.

Born during a sweaty, backstage, Bonnaroo downpour, the Chief Festival Junkie's mission in life is to dance, write, and travel to every great festival that this wide world has to offer. While his identity remains a mystery, you may have already met him, probably when he helped himself to your party favors.

1 Comment

  • March 17, 2013

    Nick Wallis

    The effectiveness of the sniffer dogs is pretty questionable – with studies showing a pretty low success rate. In fact, I wonder if there’d be a higher success rate if police just used discretionary profiling to search people. ie. “That looks like a seedy guy”, or “Search that dread-locked man!”

    The dogs are just there as an excuse for the law to break human rights conventions.

    And it doesn’t do any good.

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