Feb. 5, 2024 – Washington State has advanced a bill to train drug-sniffing dogs to detect fentanyl—and limit police liability in civil lawsuits over damages that result.Police wouldn’t be liable if a K-9 bit someone wearing a fentanyl patch prescribed cancer pain.

Police dogs apprehend suspects by biting their arm or leg and not letting go, often for minutes at a time. They’re trained to bite hard, and can exert about twice the force as an average dog. Because of this, wounds resulting from K-9 apprehensions are prone to infections and long-term complications. And yet, they’re usually dismissed as superficial injuries when lawsuits are filed over use of excessive force.