‘Porn dog’ arrives in Utah to sniff out hidden storage devices

© WEBER COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
There’s a new dog in town and he’s got zero tolerance when it comes to pornography. URL (pronounced ‘Earl’) has been enlisted by police in the Mormon-majority US state of Utah to help sniff out electronic storage devices, earning him the nickname ‘Porn dog.’

Thanks to a common chemical shared by electronic storage devices, URL can detect a range of devices like thumb drives and SD cards - and can even differentiate between a memory card chocked full of porn and innocent gadgets such as a remote control or alarm clock. Good boy.

The visual smut was declared both illegal and a "public health crisis" in the Beehive State earlier this year. A 2009 study found its residents had the highest subscription rate to porn sites in the country, although they dropped to 40th out of 50 in rankings released by Pornhub.com in 2014.

The 16-month-old dog, who was rescued from a shelter, is one of nine dogs trained and certified in the art of e-sniffing in the US.

His trainer also taught Bear, the K-9 who helped take down Subway’s notorious ex-spokesman Jared Fogle, who was found in possession of child pornography.

READ MORE: Rare sniffer dog found key evidence against Subway’s Jared

“Whether it’s child porn, or terrorism intelligence, narcotics or financial crimes information, URL has the ability to find evidence hidden on basically any electronic memory device,” a Weber County Sheriff’s statement said.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert, who is Mormon like 62 percent of his state’s residents, signed a resolution deeming porn to be illegal in April - in response to the “pornography epidemic.”

“This is a historic day for the good, clean-living, people who call the state of Utah home,” Herbert said. “This new law will protect our children and make our state pure from the heathens who go against God’s will.”

Utah’s not-so ‘clean-living’ residents are at risk of fines and even jail time for simply possessing a magazine, or viewing porn online.

“I want to assure the good citizens of Utah that the brave men and women of law enforcement will be out in full force, tracking down porn offenders, and bringing them to justice,” Sheriff Jim Tracy of Utah County said.

The porno prohibition is the work of Republican senator Todd Weiler, who believes porn is akin to meth and heroin.

“A lot of people will get kind of lured into pornography, and they don’t know it may actually consume their life,” he explained.

A rare study about the issue was published in the journal Socioaffective Neuroscience of Psychology dismisses Weiler’s comparison of porn to an addictive drug, instead claiming problem users just have high libidos.

Subjects in the study who believed they had an addiction to porn had the electrical activity of their brains observed when they were exposed to adult content.

The results did not show diminished electrical responses associated with habitual drug use.