The InterNational Bloodhound Training Institute acknowledges that proper foundational requirements needed to qualify and testify as a K-9 Handler have been established by the courts. The Federal and many State Appellate Courts permit K-9 tracking or Bloodhound testimony as evidence. Within the guidelines established by case law, certification or evaluations are not required, as long as logs pertaining to the dog’s training are maintained. The proper foundation cited in the 29 American Jurisprudence 2d #575 is used by INBTI as the standard.
We also understand, some agencies, both in the public and private sector, are more comfortable utilizing a K-9 team that has demonstrated a certain standard of proficiency. Based on this understanding, the evaluations administered by the InterNational Bloodhound Training Institute are given to assist those agencies and K-9 teams that need or request an outside entity to determine the knowledge of the handler, as well as the ability of the K-9.
With that in mind, our approach to evaluating is different from other organizations because we apparently view the professional (LE, SAR) mantrailer’s job or responsibility differently. It seems that most organizations take the “cookie cutter approach in some variation” and observe a dog run a trail/track - then based on that one performance make the decision whether a dog team is “certified.” INBTI views a mantrailing team beyond an apprehension team, but also as an important investigative tool. The team should have the skills required to provide information that can lead to the arrest of the criminal not necessarily the apprehension of the perpetrator himself. In a SAR setting, they can provide correct information to the search managers that will help lead to the recovery of the missing person not necessarily having the walk-up find themselves. Of course, the direct apprehension or walk-up find would be a great and rewarding result, but we understand that except in “bail out” or fresh types of criminal activity, because of influx of cell phones and vehicles in our society, the probability of accomplishing the direct apprehension in “colder” cases is much lower. In most types of aged criminal complaints, to be useful, the investigators will need the dog team to possess the ability to provide correct (in some cases critical) information to help close those cases.
Because The International Bloodhound Training Institute defers the ultimate decision of whether a dog team should be viewed as capable of working to individual judges and their respective appellate courts, which is based on the applicable case law in those states, we feel our job is to look at a wider spectrum of a dog team’s abilities. This includes more than just observing a dog team work a trail. As evaluators, INBTI mantrailing professionals will make comments (where and when we feel it is needed) on the different segments of our testing to help the judges and appellate courts in their decision making process. We will give those competent dog teams that may display weaknesses in some aspects of the testing a direction to show through their training logs that the weaknesses have been strengthened. For instance, during our testing a dog team successfully trails in to within so many yards of the trail layer and the dog handler can articulate that they felt as though they had a good trail into that area. They will have displayed the ability to provide correct and useful information which should help them achieve a passing evaluation. A note will be made on their evaluation that trails with well hidden subjects should be trained on to ensure that the dog has not mistakenly learned to rely on its eyes to end trails. It is then up to the dog team to show the courts through their training logs that the problem has been worked on and the dog should be considered trustworthy. The idea that the dog team should be not be considered worthy of working cases because they did not make the actual find is ludicrous.