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DWR brings anti-poaching dogs onto the force

Posted at 3:32 PM, Jun 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-10 19:12:58-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources showed off its new K9s that will help tackle the problem of illegal hunting Monday morning.

It has been 20 years since the DWR had a K9 program. Now they have two new labradors: Cruz and Carlo.

Cruz is a 15-month-old black lab, and Carlo is a 2-year-old chocolate lab. Both just finished a nine-week intensive training course in Indiana.

“They’ll be able to help us find either hidden wildlife that violators have tried to keep officers from finding, ... bullets out in a field or firearms," said DWR coordinator Sgt. Chad Bettridge. "They’ll also be able to help us find lost hikers."

When they find something, they sit or lay down to alert their officer. Cruz usually barks.

They also have the ability to search vehicles and track people.

Bettridge said the dogs will be a huge benefit to the department in helping officers to be more effective.

He hopes they will also help officers to build relationships in the community.

“They’re friendly, and people really enjoy being around these dogs," Bettridge said. "They will kind of lick you to death.”

Bettridge says they hope to add more dogs to the program in the future.