Smell the money

Israel’s world champion dog has nose for illegal cash

Customs Authority’s canine star Katcha beats 16 other pooches to take home the title of top money sniffer

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Screen capture from video of Katcha, the Israel Tax Authority's champion sniffer dog. (Channel 12)
Screen capture from video of Katcha, the Israel Tax Authority's champion sniffer dog. (Channel 12)

An Israel Tax Authority’s sniffer dog was crowned world champion at a recent international competition to find the best nose for money, Channel 12 reported Sunday.

Katcha, who is usually on patrol at Ben Gurion International Airport, beat 16 other canine competitors at the contest, held in Russia last week.

Handler Chen Cohen showed off Katcha’s skills for the station, which followed the pair as they walked around looking for illegal drugs and cash being smuggled through the country’s main airport.

As the cameras rolled, Katcha got a whiff of something out of the ordinary and soon identified a suitcase that was found to have bundles of euros stuffed inside it.

Cohen, who has worked with Katcha for five years, explained that every day she practices by snuffling bundles of $10,000 to keep her talent honed.

And Katcha is not a one-trick pooch; she can also pick up the scent of drugs including cocaine and MDMA, or ecstasy.

Last year Katcha got her paws on a smuggler who tried to bring 5,000 ecstasy pills through the airport.

In 2018 customs officials discovered 1,200 attempts to smuggle drugs through Ben Gurion, the report said. There were also 80 interceptions of smuggled money, totaling nearly $5 million.

Customs dogs have also found other items, including a suitcase full of parrots, being smuggled into the country.

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