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'DVD Dogs' Finally Leaving Malaysia

Known collectively as Operation Double Trouble, sniffer dogs Lucky and Flo have brought Malaysia's DVD pirates to their knees and snatched the hearts of a nation in the process.

Now the olfactorily-talented pair are to be honored as heroes for their work in ferreting out millions of illegal discs.

The two black Labradors — the first in the world to be trained to sniff out discs — will be awarded medals of honor at a farewell party when their six-month assignment ends next week, a film industry official said Thursday.

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The dogs — on loan from the U.S.-based Motion Picture Association of America — unearthed pirated DVDs, video CDs and equipment worth $6 million and helped make 26 arrests since arriving in March, said Nor Hayati Yahaya, the organization's manager for Malaysia.

Out of 2.7 million illegal discs seized this year, almost 2 million have been uncovered by the talented pair.

"Their presence has made a significant impact on the pirates in Malaysia," said Nor Hayati.

Trained to sniff a chemical in the discs, Lucky and Flo's skills do not stretch to distinguishing between pirated and legal versions, but this is easily done by handlers once the caches have been found.

In at least one case, the dogs discovered secret rooms full of discs hidden behind a false wall.

As in many Southeast Asian countries, film piracy is rampant in Malaysia, where fake DVDs and VCDs are available on the streets for a fraction of their retail prices.

Five million discs were seized in over 2,000 raids nationwide last year, according to the Malaysian government.

Lucky and Flo have heightened awareness of the issue as the Malaysian media, enamored of the photogenic pair, have reported on almost every single one of their raids, Nor Hayati said.

Though the Labradors are soon to return to their home in New York, Malaysia's pirates have little reason to celebrate their departure.

The MPAA and Malaysia's Domestic Trade Ministry are currently selecting two new dogs to be trained in Ireland by the same team that taught Lucky and Flo.

The pair could arrive in Malaysia later this year to form the country's first permanent canine film-piracy crack team.