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Departments : It's a Jungle Out There

Animals Can Get Crooks Into All Sorts of Trouble

August 01, 2003  |  by Commander Gilmore

Grand Theft Toad

Dutch police in Leeuwarden have seen a lotta weird stuff with Holland's sorta lax policy on drugs, but they probably never featured themselves being assigned to track down toad-lickin' dope fiends.

This new assignment kicked off after the burglary of an exotic pet store close to a drug crisis center. Reported stolen were some South American brown cane toads of the Bufo Marinus family. When officers inquired why thieves might target these particular toads, they learned that these little wartmongers have specialized glands on their necks and backs that secrete a rather unusual substance.

Licking them, they were told, can produce hallucinations and a high comparable to trippin' on LSD. Well, the government may not mind if the dopers shoot up their heroin in a public "needle park," but they're dead set against stealing amphibians for recreational toad-licking. So the toad-hunt began.

Local spokesdruggies made appeals for the return of the toads and warned potential toad-smoochers that side effects can include severe swelling of the tongue and muscular paralysis. We think it could also leave you with some pretty weird memories of your misspent youth. Then, if you're a Dutch cop, it's possible that "tracking toads" might not be remembered as the high point of your career.

New K-9 Greeting

It's official in Australia now.  When a police K-9 nuzzles your crotch, it's purely social. A good muzzle-poke in the pants might lead to criminal charges, but it starts out as the canine equivalent of a handshake.

That was the ruling of Australian Supreme Court Justice Barry O'Keefe. A drug-possession suspect appealed his conviction, claiming that the evidence-dope found in his crotch-should not be admissible, because it was only gained in the course of an "indecent assault" on his privacy and person, committed when Rocky the cop dog jammed his nose against the crook's zipper.

Australian law holds that any evidence gained by police must be excluded if the police were engaged in the commission of any crime, including indecent assault. On reviewing the evidence, including Rocky's "non-enforcement-related" normal behavior, Justice O'Keefe ruled that when Rocky nuzzles somebody down there, it is "merely a social gesture," not an assault. And if he detects dope while sayin' "howdy," well, that's the doper's tough luck.

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