September 12, 2013
by Julie Montanaro
There are some new recruits suiting up and training in the woods of Gadsden County.
They are bloodhounds whose super sniffers helps to track missing children and more.
These puppies are learning the ropes.
Four to six month old bloodhounds who officers will later rely on to help track missing children, wandering seniors and fleeing crooks.
This time... it's a wayward reporter.
"There it is. There's the scent."
Just rubbing a tissue on the back of the neck and dropping it to the pavement is all it takes for a bloodhound to begin.
We ran into the treeline, out of sight and waited.
"So we'll be hiding here to see if the dog can track my scent."
Sixteen teams from Florida and Georgia are training at the Florida Public Safety Institute in Gadsden County this week.
They come each year to sharpen the sniffing skills of hounds and their handlers. The specially bred dogs have one track mind or perhaps it's a one track nose 400 times more powerful than our own.
Lead instructor John Snow says a recent training exercise in South Florida was the perfect example of that.
"The dog was scented on the school bag, and the dog tracked probably a mile...through the bus stops with kids getting on and off buses and going through around corners and the hard roads and right down to the door of the house that the little girl was hiding in," Show said.
On this day the job was much easier.
Daisy took just minutes to pound the pavement, greet the grass and find me.
"They do a good job at that game...and they get the win," bloodhound handler Richard Carr said.
This game could have life or death stakes later.
Richard Carr - a K9 team member at Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee - and his dog have found two missing children in the past six years and that's a win he can barely describe.
"If you can save a child, and you find that youngin', and the look on their moms and their dads faces...it's the greatest thing in the world," Carr said.
Several of the bloodhounds training this week were paid for by the Jimmy Ryce Foundation.