Canine Cops

DGIF welcomes five new four-legged officers.

Photo credit DGIF

Canine trainees

From left: Senior CPO Wes Billings and Molly, CPO Bonnie Braziel and Grace, Master CPO Mark Diluigi and Lily, CPO Ian Ostlund and Reese, and CPO Tyler Blanks and Bruno.

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is going to the dogs. The K9 Conservation Police program is training five new recruits in Virginia for the first time. (Previous dogs and handlers have trained in Indiana.) The K9 program began in 2010 and currently has five active teams, but, says Major Scott Naff of DGIF Conservation Police, “The K9s have made a significant impact on law enforcement and created a lot of great outcomes, hence the decision to double the size of the K9 division of our Conservation Police force.” 

Photo credit DGIF.

K9 trainee Bruno.

K9 trainee Bruno.

The purpose of the canine cops is to help conserve wildlife and protect people and property. The pups learn to detect wildlife, recover evidence, track violators and fugitives, find hidden firearms, and locate lost people. They are also terrific ambassadors who educate the public and deter violators through demonstrations of their skills at schools and events.

Follow the progress of the new recruits by signing up for a biweekly email newsletter packed with photos and videos, handler interviews, and more. Plus, show your support by donating to a special nonprofit fund courtesy of the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation that defers the expenses of veterinary care, food, and training equipment for the K9s. Learn more at DGIF.Virginia.gov (search: K9 program).

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