The Missouri Department of Conservation has added several furry new agents to its team. To educate the community on the department’s new K-9 unit and program, it will be hosting a meet and greet at the Perryville Senior Center Oct. 21, beginning at 6 p.m. There is no registration required to attend.
The Missouri Department of Conservation jumpstarted the K-9 program in Dec. 2020 and the five dogs were trained and certified police officers in Missouri and the Conservation Department,” Agent Cpl. Alan Lamb said. “This is a way to show the public what our program is and what we are capable of doing.”
Lamb’s dog, Tex, a German Shorthaired Pointer, is certified in three areas: human tracking, evidence recovery and wildlife detection. Lamb believes that Tex, along with the four other canines spread throughout the state will be a huge help for the MDC.
“The dogs can help find lost children or hunters, along with sniffing out firearms, and deer, or birds that hunters may have shot illegally,” Lamb said. “Anything with a human scent these dogs are trained to find.”
The department has two pointers and three labrador retrievers, while many people think of police dogs as German shepherds, the MDC went with canines that are associated more with hunting.
The department wanted to go with sporting, or floppy-eared dogs,” Lamb said. “Hunters can relate better to these breeds and these types of dogs already have it ingrained in them to hunt and seek out wildlife.”
Tex lives with Lamb in his home, so that he can become more familiar with his handler.
“He mostly stays outdoors so that he is acclimated to the weather,” Lamb said. “When it’s really hot or really cold, he will come inside. We make sure we are not putting them in danger.”
The meet-and-greets are a good way to show exactly what the dogs can do which is why Lamb is hoping to put on some sort of a demonstration while at the event, as long as it can be done correctly.
“It can be tough because with a lot of people there are a lot of scents that the dog can pick up,” Lamb said. “So we want to make sure we do something that is controlled.”
Whatever Lamb and Tex decides to do, he understands the event can only bolster the program.
“The more public awareness we have, the more support it will garner for our program,” Lamb said. “The capabilities of these dogs are endless. If it took years of training to find one lost child or one dementia patient, it makes the program well worth it.”
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