Five dogs will soon graduate from the Department of Fish and Game's (DFG) K-9 Academy Thursday at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area in Davis. This is the third group of K-9 teams to graduate and dogs will be staged throughout California to help wardens in stopping criminal activities and searching vessels for Quagga mussels.
"The K-9 units already in the field have proven themselves very useful," said Chief Nancy Foley, DFG Law Enforcement Division. "We've made several abalone, fish, turkey and deer poaching cases with the dogs' help and this graduating class will only aid DFG enforcement efforts."
At the ceremony, previous and current K-9 graduates will demonstrate detection and apprehension abilities starting at 10:30 a.m. Each of the dogs will also receive a K-9 game warden badge.
In addition to standard patrol support, the dogs will assist with searches for missing persons and suspects, and in locating evidence such as spent ammunition and hidden firearms. The dogs have also been trained in apprehending suspects, making them especially useful to wardens in rural patrol areas where backup can be more than an hour away.
"With these graduates, we now have 17 dogs deployed statewide," said Lt. Lynette Shimek, K-9 handler and program coordinator. "With the small number of wardens currently working in the state, these 17 dogs will be a tremendous help to their handlers in the fight to protect our natural resources."
Depending upon the team's patrol area each will specialize in detecting a variety of scents including bear, deer, fish, elk, abalone and waterfowl. All of the DFG dogs have been trained in detecting ammunitions as well as Quagga and Zebra mussels, the small invasive freshwater invasive mussels that seriously threaten California's economy and environment. The training in ammunition and associated odor detection provides evidence search support and an additional level of homeland security for California.
The new teams add coverage to Siskiyou and Plumas counties in addition to the other 33 counties that have K-9 support, including: Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Lake, Lassen, Madera, Marin, Mendocino, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, San Benito, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, Tulare and Yolo counties.
Each team will have a specific patrol area, but will be available to travel to other areas if necessary. DFG plans to train up to 24 police service dogs to be staged around the state within the next seven months.
DFG's K-9 Program is funded largely through private donations. Donated funds are received and administered by a not-for-profit organization that works hand-in-hand with DFG and its secret witness reporting program "CalTIP" (Californians Turn in Poachers and Polluters). The organization, CalTIP Inc., is a charitable organization designated under section 501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Organizations, agencies and individuals can sponsor or donate funds to support a K-9 unit and all donations are tax deductible. For more information, please visit http://www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/K9
Third Academy Graduates:
Handler: Chad Elliott
K-9: Jonah, 19-month-old, yellow Labrador retriever
Assignment: Mono and Inyo counties
Handler: Erick Elliott
K-9: Rusty, 20-month-old, yellow Labrador retriever
Assignment: Alpine, Amador and El Dorado counties
Handler: Bob Pera
K-9: Ruger, 2-year-old, German shepherd
Assignment: Butte and Glenn counties
Handler: Joe Powell
K-9: Katie, 3-year-old, black Labrador retriever
Assignment: Siskiyou and
Handler: Lisa Stone
K-9: Donna, 3-year-old, German shepherd
Assignment: Lassen, Plumas and Butte counties
Additional K-9 Teams
Handler: Warden Loren Freeman
K-9: Leo, 2-year-old German shepherd
Assignment: Lake and Mendocino counties
Handler: Warden Kyle Kroll
K-9: Buck, 4-year-old, German shepherd
Assignment: Santa Clara, San
Benito and Monterey counties
Handler: Warden Gene Weckman
K-9: Nash, 16-month-old
Assignment: Butte and Glenn counties
Handler: Warden Brian Gallaher
K-9: Tres, 14-month-old
Assignment: Modoc and Lassen counties
Handler: Warden Brian Boyd
K-9: Phebe, 16-month-old, Malinois
Assignment: Shasta and Tehama counties
Handler: Lt. Lynette Shimek, Program Coordinator
K-9: Ellen, 5-year-old, German shepherd
Assignment: Statewide training
Handler: Warden Robert Pelzman
K-9: Nigel, 15-month-old, Labrador retriever
Assignment: Placer County
Handler: Warden Christy Wurster
K-9: Wrigley, 2-year-old, German Shorthair- Labrador-golden retriever mix
Assignment: Amador, Alpine and El Dorado counties
Handler: Warden Lorraine Doyle
K-9: Iris, 2-year-old, Labrador retriever
Assignment: Fresno County
Handler: Warden Lori Oldfather
K-9: Louie, 2-year-old, Labrador retriever
Assignment: City of Stockton
Handler: Warden Roxanne Bowers
K-9: Cooper, 2-year-old Hound mix
Assignment: Alameda County
Handler: Warden Laurie Knowles
K-9: Iggy, 5-year-old, Labrador retriever
Assignment: Amador County