REP LIEU INTRODUCES BILL TO CREATE PILOT PROGRAM THAT USES DOGS TO DETECT COVID-19

June 8, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) released the following statement after introducing the COVID-19 Warrior Dogs Act, legislation to authorize a pilot program at the Department of Defense to determine the effectiveness of using working dogs to detect the early stages of diseases, including COVID-19.

“We’ve seen time and time again how dogs and their amazing talent can help protect our safety. Dogs’ skills in detecting COVID-19 are currently being developed in countries all over the world. I’m pleased to introduce this bill to create a pilot program at the U.S. Department of Defense to test the effectiveness of dogs using their keen sense of smell to detect COVID-19. If effective, dogs can be trained and put to work in airports and other travel hubs across the country – offering a cheaper and faster way to test for COVID. Although the U.S. is making great strides in the fight against COVID-19, the virus isn’t going away, which is why we must continue to explore cost-effective and dynamic ways to test for infections.”

The Penn Vet Working Dog Center at the University of Pennsylvania released a statement in support of the COVID-19 Warrior Dogs Act:

“Working dogs have demonstrated an ability to detect COVID-19. This bill will ensure scientifically rigorous validation for operational utilization of medical detection dogs. Such a pilot program will pave the way for these talented dogs to provide surveillance of COVID-19, and as well as other diseases ”

-Cynthia M. Otto, DVM, PhD Director, Penn Vet Working Dog Center

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