Division Of Wildlife Brings Back K9s To Help Conservation Officers
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – In a parking lot, and a field behind the Lee Kay Public Shooting Range, officers with the Division of Wildlife Resources showed off how their new K9 partners will help them on the job. Chocolate Labrador Carlo, and black Labrador Cruz quickly sniffed out venison, guns, and people.
“When you have a K-9, you’re actually shortening up the time that we might spend, scouring a field, looking for something,” Officer Joshua Carver said. “These dogs are speeding up our investigative process.”
Carver was the first DWR officer to get a K9 partner, after the program went away in the early 90’s. He was paired up with a white Labrador named Cody, who unexpectedly fell ill with cancer, and later died. Carver has since helped train both Cruz, and his partner, Carlo. Cruz now works with officer Matt Burgess.
“We can use these dogs for trespassing cases, because of their tracking ability for human scent,” Burgess explained. “We can use them to find wildlife for cases, also any items of evidence, like weapons or shell casings.”
Ultimately, Burgess and Carver believe the dogs will help them more effectively search for and find things more quickly, helping them handle large caseloads that officers like them deal with on a regular basis.
“There’s not that many conservation officers,” Carver explained. “So in reality, you get a case, you may get three or four cases a week, especially the busy time you may get more than that.”
Carver and Burgess recently returned from a training course with their K9 partners, in Indiana. The DWR plans to send another K9 unit there next month, and one more next year. The dogs and their human counterparts are partners at both home and work. The dogs become a part of their families.
“That bond actually helps the dog grow,” Carver said. “It’s probably the most important thing is to have a strong bond with your dog. That dog needs to know that you two are inseparable.”
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