Rescue dog finds new lease of life as Japanese knotweed detection dog


Editor's Picks
17 August 2020
Environet UK has expanded its Japanese knotweed detection dog team with the addition of black Cocker Spaniel rescue dog Buddy, whose exceptional nose for tracking has led him straight to his important new role.

Following strong demand among homeowners, buyers and sellers for dog detection surveys since the service was launched just two months ago, Mick and Mack, Environet’s pair of fox-red Labrador Retrievers will now be joined by Buddy who found his calling with a little help from dog rescue charity Spaniel Aid.

After acquiring him as a puppy Spaniel Aid staff noticed his superior sense of smell, which made him ideal detection dog material, and contacted RFA Security who train dogs for various purposes including finding explosive, drugs and Japanese knotweed. Within weeks Buddy had passed his training with flying colours and has now become a fully-fledged member of Environet’s surveying team, sniffing out knotweed in gardens and development sites across the country.

Japanese knotweed dog detection surveys are useful to homebuyers who are worried a property may be affected by knotweed, sellers who want to offer additional reassurances, particularly if a property has had knotweed in the past, and homeowners who want to check if the plant is present on their property.

They can call on the highly trained sniffer dogs to check the property for the scent of knotweed rhizome, including where it’s concealed beneath the ground. The dogs can cover a garden or development site in a matter of minutes and will indicate by freezing and staring at the spot where knotweed has been detected.

Nic Seal, Founder and MD of Environet UK, said: “We’re delighted to be expanding our detection dog team so soon after the launch with the addition of Buddy. He’s already proving himself to have an exceptional nose for knotweed and infinite enthusiasm for the job!”

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Peter Watson, Senior Operations Manager at RFA Security, added: “It’s always exciting when a dog successfully completes training but even more so when it’s a rescue dog who until recently had an uncertain future. Buddy has found his calling in life and absolutely loves his work.”

Japanese knotweed was introduced to the UK from Japan in the 1840s and now thrives in our parks and gardens, along waterways and railways. It can grow by 10cm per day to reach up to 3 metres in height by late summer. Described by the Environment Agency as “indisputably the UK’s most aggressive, destructive and invasive plant”, knotweed can cause extensive damage to property, breaking through cracks in mortar, brickwork, joints in concrete, drains, sewers, driveways and even the cavity walls of our homes.

If a property is affected by knotweed, sellers are required by law to declare it during the conveyancing process. Mortgage lenders require evidence of a professional treatment plan to be in place before lending on an affected property.

As a result of the high accuracy rate of its dog detection surveys, Environet offers a free 5-year insurance-backed guarantee to owners of residential property where knotweed is not detected.

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