Meet LCSO's K-9 squad before their debut on A&E's 'Top Dog'

By: Sophia Hernandez | WCTV Eyewitness News
January 6, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – They have a nose for finding people, sniffing out drugs and solving crime. Now, Leon County Sheriff's Office canines get to show off their skills to homes nationwide!

Four LCSO K-9's and their handlers will be featured on this season of A&E's 'Top Dog'. On the show, LCSO holds the most spots for a single agency.

Fighting crime can be a 'ruff' job in our community, but for the top dogs of LCSO, it is a chance to be in the spotlight. All four of the trained pups are brave, smart, and give 'fur'-ocious a new name.

The first canine is young Tater.

"I thought that putting him up against some of the more senior dogs was going to be more of a challenge, but he performed really, really higher then my expectations." Tater's handler and the supervisor of LCSO's K-9 unit, Chuck Mehr said.

Mehr said that the show has helped the dog grow up, and the bond they have developed has deepened.

The next pup is great all around. Cam has been working with his handler Justin Wilmot for over seven years. This pup's impact for the force is an unmeasurable.

"You know he is extremely competitive, he doesn't like to lose, he loves to work," Willmot said about the pup.

Then there's Maverick.

He is rambunctious and energetic, but his partner Casey Skelton says he knows when to buckle down.

"He is very friendly, but also has the ability to kick it into work mode," Skelton says.

Finally, there's the go-getter, Bane.

"The bond we have is amazing," his handler, Jesse Matthews, said. "He listens to me, he does all the work for me, makes me look good."

The dogs and their handler's traveled to California, with only two weeks notice. Overcoming quick turnarounds and jet lag, each pair faced off with different agencies nationwide.

Mehr says he is proud of how the team performed.

"To watch them take the challenge, and then apply it to their team and to go out there and then represent us as strongly as they did, I could not be more pleased then that."

Although the tricks and tasks on the show may not be the same as the dogs' day-to-day routine, Wilmot assures you will still be impressed by what these pups can do.

"The dog is the one part, one asset inside of the department or any department that you cannot replicate," Wilmot says. "You can't replace the dog. He has abilities we don't."

Skeleton has been working with Maverick for four and a half years. He says he is beyond proud of the time, training, and talent, of these four 'top dogs.'

"We are just people like everyone else and they are just dogs like everyone else, we just put in the long hours of training to help them be what they are."

Each pair will be featured on A&E's 'Top Dog's' which airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. There will be a viewing party at the Hobbit American Grill located at 5032 Capital Circle SW.

LCSO will host a Meet and Greet, which will start at 8:15 p.m.

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