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Dogs trained to sniff out COVID-19 at sporting events, universities and prisons

The owner of Top Tier K9 says more than 70 COVID-19 sniffing dogs have come through his program, and he hopes to train 250 pups each year.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It’s true what they say: We don’t deserve dogs. In addition to being generally awesome, some are now being trained to sniff out COVID-19 so sports fans can watch their favorite teams. The Miami Heat were the first team to try it

A German study finds the pups are 94 percent accurate in sniffing out the virus, and a Florida trainer says his dogs find COVID-19 at a 99.7% accuracy rate. 

“Dog has always been man’s best friend," Jeff Minder said.

Now dogs are training for a big mission by sniffing out the coronavirus. 

“We specifically chose elements of the virus we believe are going to be carried through multiple mutations of the virus," Jeff Minder said.

Jeff Minder is the CEO and founder of Top Tier K9 in North Florida. He trains English Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Belgian Malnois' to detect COVID-19. Minder believes his dogs can help not only the country but the world start getting back to normal. 

“We’ve got some sports arenas launching," Minder said. "We’ve got some theme parks in South Florida launching very quickly. We’ve got universities, prison systems, and Rome has just committed to their ports of entry for our COVID-19 dogs.”

In addition to Italy, Minder has provided his COVID-19 sniffing dogs to Israel, Argentina and Malaysia. 

Minder says dogs can learn to differentiate between particles from different virus, like COVID-19 or the flu, as well as cancer cells. 

“The dogs are going to be used as a filter," Minder said. "Then when someone is recognized as possibly having COVID, then we can separate them from the group and then run a traditional laboratory test on them to confirm the dog’s work.”

Minder says his dogs can detect new viruses within two weeks. 

“I actually see the dogs as bringing America back and now bringing the world back, but more importantly I see the presence of the dogs as deflating the next pandemic," Minder said. 

Minder says more than 70 COVID-19 sniffing dogs have come through his program. He’s currently training 30 puppies with the goal of producing 250 dogs each year trained to sniff out the virus.