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COVID-19 carrying dog-handler volunteers to train dog to diagnose, test coronavirus

srael Dog Unit (IDU) dog-handler Bram Settenbrino, who is presently quarantined with the coronavirus, volunteered to pilot test and train his personal weapons-sniffing service canine to detect the scent of the coronavirus.

Bram, who joins dozens of others quarantined with coronavirus in the Tel Aviv Dan Panorama Hotel that was recently converted into a quarantine facility by the Israeli defense establishment, said, “I’m in a rare position as I’m still diagnosed with coronavirus together with many others who have tested positive. It’s a godsend that I happen to be a volunteer dog-handler of a service dog that is a trained cadaver and weapons-sniffing detection dog. That’s what we do. And if I can make a small contribution to save many lives, I am happy to do that.”

Settenbrino continued: “Additionally, even after I G-d willing recover, I’m less likely to contract coronavirus and am thus in a unique position to test and train with many coronavirus patients. I asked the head of the IDU as well as the staff at the Hotel to permit me to have my service dog – Dana admitted to join me here so that we can commence immediate training under the auspices of expert trainers who will guide me. I know that the chances are slim, but what have we to lose?”

IDU Commander Yekutiel (Mike) Ben Yakov, who operates the civilian canine unit offering security to Jewish towns and which is the lead search and rescue organization in Israel already, sent an urgent request to Israels Defense Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, saying that Bram is in a position to potentially make an historic contribution to detecting and treating coronavirus patients and to saving many lives in Israel and around the world.

“Bram is already a proven and successful dog-handler and has already succeeded in recovering and rescuing missing people in Israel with the unit on his first search for a missing person, when he first joined the unit, last year. May it be the will of G-d that he succeeds in his valiant battle with coronavirus.”

The IDU is already in contact with world experts to seek immediate guidance from leaders in the field to devise the best strategy and methods to move forward if the IDF and Health Ministry give Bram and Dana a green light to commence training. The IDF Oketz Unit earlier announced that they too are seeking to train dogs to detect coronavirus and British experts have also announced a similar pilot.