Jerry Bishop, director of training at F1 K9

by | Apr 1, 2020

Owing to the coronavirus pandemic and the new Stay at Home order, this was the first show I broadcast remotely from home, with in-studio help from my friend/WMNF music director Lee “Flee” Courtney, featuring live and recorded elements

Jerry Bishop—the co-founder and director of training at F1 K9, a Florida-based firm that provides training and dogs for various purposes, including the detection of drugs and agricultural disease—recalls how he moved into working with dogs some 20 years ago, when he was a union pipefitter looking for a chance, and was offered an opportunity to learn dog training. Bishop says that while he’d had pet dogs, training was brand new to him. Over time, he learned to work with dogs in order to teach them to detect explosives, narcotics, weapons and more. Bishop did this sort of work for about 17 years, and then retired, he says, but not before helping launch a collaborative effort between that dog-training firm and a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) study. That study aimed to research whether dogs could be trained to detect Huanglongbing, or HLB, a bacterium that prevents fruit from ripening. HLB was wreaking havoc on Florida’s $9 billion citrus industry. (It’s now estimated that HLB has caused 75% devastation of that industry.) He recounts how he was approached to come out of retirement (co-founding F1 K9) in order to resume work on the study, led by Dr. Tim R. Gottwald, a veteran and highly respected USDA plant epidemiologist. Bishop speaks to the differences—in both the speed and accuracy of detecting HLB–between the dogs he (and others) had trained, and other methods of detection: The dogs are much, much faster, and far more accurate—Gottwald has placed their accuracy at 99%. Bishop addresses a bit about the dogs’ professional sweeps of citrus groves—they’ve done so for less than two years, mostly in north Florida and a few areas of California, like Ventura, noting that coronavirus-related restrictions have forced him and his F1 K9 to place all work trips on hold. (

I wrote a Washington Post story on Bishop, F1 K9, and HLB-detecting dogs:



ALSO: I spoke with the show’s longtime “Greyhound Correspondent,” Don Goldstein, addressing how the coronavirus has closed down the Florida dog racing tracks—as it has so many businesses—in a way that’s starting to brush up against the deadline for shutting down the tracks permanently, under the dictates of Amendment 13—and what that means for the dogs and adoption.

COMEDY CORNER: David Spade’s “Evicting A Bird”  (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” EELS’ “I Like Birds,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  Buck Owens’ “I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail”


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