According to Rolling Stone, METALLICA and TOOL are among the artists who have have recruited dogs specially trained to sniff for traces of COVID-19 in members of their crew, entourage or anyone else who gets backstage.
METALLICA hired an Ohio-based firm, Bio Detection K9, for its fall shows in Fort Lauderdale and Atlanta and also at the band's 40th anniversary gigs in San Francisco last month.
"So far, knock on wood, the dogs have been knocking it out of the park," says John Peets of Q Prime, the management company that represents METALLICA. "We haven't had a dog miss anybody."
Bio Detection K9 has been in the business of using dogs to detect viruses, bacteria, and fungus for over a decade in partnership with the US Department of Agriculture and other government agencies. The company plans to channel efforts toward deploying COVID-detecting canine assets around the world, aiding the general population in resuming social and sporting events safely. Looking ahead, they plan to address upcoming biologic and medical challenges in a sustainable fashion, revolutionizing the way the world views a canine's ability to detect and prevent health concerns on a global scale.
Bio Detection K9 dogs are trained specifically for COVID-19 and its various strains, and do not respond to seasonal flus and colds.
The dogs are not used to search large crowds, just manageable groups.
"We don't search whole stadiums; that is not what we are there for," Shawn Reed, the director of training and operations for Bio Detection K9, told SWVA Today. "I don't take a dog and search a crowd of 60,000 people."
Wade Morrell, CEO of Priority One Canine, which recently bought Bio Detection K9, told WBNS that "there are about 100 employees" at a typical stadium or arena concert "and to search those 100 employees, it would take about five minutes. It takes longer to line everybody up and take their masks off than it does having the dogs go down the line and search them."
According to Morrell, testing is done by having participants line up four to six feet apart and removing a mask they’ve worn for about 10 minutes. The dogs then go down the line sniffing the masks and will stop and sit to indicate a COVID-19 positive participant.
"Because you have such a concentrated area of odor, there[s a higher probability the dogs will find it [in the mask]," Morrell said.