Increasingly, law enforcement investigators across the country are putting dogs to work to help find remains — bodies, bones and blood from the missing and the murdered, reports the Associated Press. And the results of their labors are being used more and more often in court. Cadaver dogs, as the specially trained canines are sometimes called, were used in searches after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and to help find victims of natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina.
More recently, these dogs have helped convict some murder suspects, even when no body is found. Trainers and some forensic scientists say the dogs can detect human residue that’s been left behind in a trunk, or on a blanket or tarp, or a temporary grave of some sort. In some cases, the dogs also help pinpoint areas where air and soil can be tested with increasingly sophisticated detection devices — though these methods have not been without controversy.