MALAYSIA – Malaysia's plan to use dogs to sniff out pirated DVDs suffered a setback after one of two Labradors trained for the task died of an unknown cause, officials said Monday.
Authorities were investigating the cause of death but did not suspect foul play, said Mohamad Roslan Mahayuddin, an official in the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs.
"We are quite shocked," he said.
Manny, a year-old male, died May 31. It was trained in Ireland with another Labrador, Paddy, to sniff out a chemical used in manufacturing DVDs. They arrived in Malaysia in February and had been training with police officers and getting used to Malaysia's climate.
Malaysia sought to form the world's first permanent canine anti-piracy unit after borrowing two dogs — Lucky and Flo — from the U.S. Motion Picture Association. They helped Malaysian authorities discover 1.6 million pirated DVDs during a six-month stint last year.
Lucky and Flo's success reportedly caused movie pirates to place a bounty on their heads. The dogs cannot distinguish between real and pirated DVDs, but they point officers to hidden caches of discs.
Mohamad Roslan said Malaysia has not yet decided whether to get a new dog to replace Manny.
Manny and Paddy were donated to Malaysia by the Motion Picture Association.