Dog sniffs out tax dodgers in Italy

October 2, 2012 (NAPLES, Italy)

Authorities in Italy are using Labradors to sniff out tax dodgers.

"Stella" is on the lookout, not for drugs or explosives, but rather cash. This 2-year-old Labrador retriever has been trained to sniff out large quantities of bills-euros, dollars, pounds, and rubles at Naples Airport.

Stella is a "cash dog," the latest weapon unleashed by Italy's Guardia di Finanza, or finance police, in their effort to crack down on that very Italian of traditions, tax evasion, a tradition which, by some estimates, deprives the government by as much as $340 billion a year.

And, in this era of austerity, with governments scrounging for every last penny, a dog with a nose for money has its day.

Stella has earned her keep. Since the beginning of the year she has helped the authorities here find more than 3 million euro, around $4 million, in illicit cash.

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