Dog sniffs out tax dodgers in Italy

October 2, 2012 12:56:23 PM PDT
The tax man's best friend has four legs and a nose for cash.

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.