Meet 'Buffy' the mosquito slayer

February 26, 2008 1:41:37 PM PST
Alameda County has a new best friend in the battle against West Nile Virus -- and it's dog. The county unveiled "Buffy the mosquito slayer" on Tuesday morning.

With this county employee, you wont worry about health benefits, overtime, and sick days. All this four-legged mosquito tracker needs is a snack or some play time.

Buffy is a four year old Yellow Lab. She is a personal project for Alameda County mosquito abatement technitioan Sharon Mead. Buffy's job is to track down and rub out disease carrying mosquitos in Alameda County.

A technician and a flashlight is one way to help fight the cause of West Nile Virus. What if you can't see the mosquitoes? That's when Buffy steps in.

"She can smell better than me and probably find the house from a block away. We can just take the dog from house to house," says Mead, dog trainer.

"Mosquitoes we are looking for are very good vectors of West Nile. It's not a pest issue. It's a disease issue," John Rusmisel, Alameda Co. Mosquito Abatement District.

West Nile can be deadly, especially in the old and very young. When Buffy is in search mode, she is looking for dirty water. She is trained to distinguish the clean stuff from the dirty. When she finds it, she sits. If not, she just moves on.

Buffy is officially not on the counties payroll, but considering the amount of work she has accomplished, that could change.

"With all this rain, we can be pretty busy in the spring time," says Mead.

Buffy's hit rate is usually pretty good. With Santa Clara County and Alameda County trying out these new trackers, you might be looking at the wave of the future.


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