A drug dog’s instinctive leap through a left open car window was reasonable and didn’t violate the Fourth Amendment. State v. Ruiz, 2021 UT App 94 (Sept. 2, 2021):
¶25 Moreover, Odin’s leap through the partially open window was instinctual because he was following his natural drive to locate the source of the contraband odor that he had learned to identify. As Officer and Director testified, Odin was trained to “follow his nose” to the source of the odor of contraband drugs. See supra ¶ 10. But Ruiz argues that Odin’s “entry into the vehicle was not instinctive, it was trained.” In making this argument, Ruiz does not sufficiently distinguish between training and instinct. In the context of a K-9 sniff, “‘instinctive’ implies the K-9 enters the car without assistance, facilitation, or other intentional action by its handler,” Pierce, 622 F.3d at 214, not that the K-9 is untrained. Ruiz’s reasoning that Odin’s training precluded his unprompted leap through the open window from being “instinctive” does not adequately separate the training of K-9s from their natural instinct. In other words, Odin’s natural drive to locate the source of the odor of drugs emanating through an open window was instinctive even though he had learned he would be rewarded when he pinpointed the source. Odin’s training was not ultimately the reason he jumped through the open window during the search; rather, he instinctively entered the car when he detected an odor he had been trained to locate.