Malaysian authorities award two black Labradors for pirate DVD-sniffing

Black Labradors Lucky and Flo will be celebrated at an awards ceremony Monday before they return home to New York, said Nor Hayati Yahaya, the Motion Picture Association's manager for Malaysia.

Lucky and Flo - on loan from the U.S.-based association - have helped uncover pirated DVDs and equipment worth $6 million since they came to Malaysia in March, Nor Hayati said. The cases led to 26 arrests.

She said that the two female dogs seized 2 million of the 2.7 million discs seized this year.

The dogs are trained to sniff chemicals in the discs. They cannot distinguish between pirated and legal discs, but that part of the job is easily done by enforcement officers once the dogs have unearthed the caches. In at least one instance, the dogs were able to uncover secret rooms behind a false wall.

Nor Hayati said the dogs have raised awareness about movie piracy because the local media reported on almost every raid they were involved in, she said.

The Motion Picture Association and Malaysia's Domestic Trade Ministry are selecting two new dogs to be trained in Ireland by the same trainer who taught Lucky and Flo.

Nor Hayati said the dogs could arrive in Malaysia this year to form the country's first permanent canine unit to fight movie piracy.

Illegal movie disc production is a big problem in Malaysia, where fake DVDs are easily available. According to the Malaysian government, 5 million discs were seized in more than 2,000 raids nationwide last year.