Franklin County Sheriff’s Office welcomes new K-9

About two months ago the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office unexpectedly lost its only two K-9s. But in a matter of days, the community stepped up to help.
Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 6:19 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A new set of paws is helping to get drugs off the streets of Franklin County as the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office welcomes a new deputy.

About two months ago, FCSO unexpectedly lost its only two K-9s. But in a matter of days, the community stepped up to help.

Josie is a chocolate lab, and the newest member of the department. She’s already hard at work and filling some big paws.

“In the course of about three days, both of our K-9s were put out of the commission,” said Franklin County Sheriff A.J. Smith.

Nearly two months ago, one K-9 fell sick. The other was medically retired.

“It’s extremely important to have these dogs on the streets, working alongside these deputies so that we can keep meth, crack, all the other drugs off the street,” Smith added.

He says these dogs are critical in battling the meth epidemic, which is why he asked for help.

In just two days the department raised nearly $30,000 in donations from community partners City of Apalachicola and Carrabelle.

20,000 of those dollars came from local homeowner and philanthropist, Doug Cone.

After completing training with handler Deputy Andrew Young, Josie hit the ground running, helping to make an arrest in just one week.

“We made a traffic stop at St. George Island and we ended up getting about a quarter gram of meth,” said Young. “That was our first win as a team together since we’ve been certified. Even a small amount is something.”

On Friday, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill allowing emergency responders to assist and transport K9s who are injured on the job.

Sheriff Smith says that’s a great thing, because these dogs are deputies, but also family.

“These dogs are a part of the family. They live with the deputy, they live with their kids,” Smith said. “We couldn’t do it without them.”

With the community donations the department was able to purchase a second K-9, who is currently awaiting training.

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