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April 26, 2013

From ‘too much to handle’ to protector of public health: Clancy, the mercury-detecting dog, has died

Clancy was on St. Paul K-9 Unit for 9 years


St. Paul —

To ensure Clancy’s safety, he was tested regularly by a veterinarian to assure that his blood mercury remained at a safe level. Throughout his work life, his mercury levels were below detection and he never displayed symptoms of neurologic damage.

Clancy was trained as a passive-indicating dog, which means he would sit and stay when he smelled mercury. Hubbard discovered this behavior had another benefit: since mercury and its vapor are heavy, the vapor stays low, and once Clancy smelled mercury he sat, taking his nose out of the mercury-vapor zone.

During his nine-year tenure at the MPCA, Clancy’s ability to capture and hold students’ and teachers’ attention was valuable in efforts to educate Minnesota youth and school faculty about the dangers of mercury. Throughout Clancy’s career, he and Hubbard visited 330 schools and helped remove more than 2,000 pounds of mercury from them.

In 2007 the Minnesota Legislature banned mercury in schools. Thanks, in part, to Hubbard and Clancy’s work -- a job well done.

Clancy retired from service in 2009, yet he never lost his energy and dogged playfulness.

“He was a great dog and the best work partner anyone could ask for.,” Hubbard said. “He will be sorely missed by me, my family and many of the people he met and helped throughout Minnesota.”

This article was submitted by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

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