County Adds Bark To Drug Unit

SNOW HILL – Narcotics searches just got easier in Worcester County with the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department’s purchase of a new narcotics detecting dog.

Dino, a two-year old black Labrador Retriever, joined the sheriff’s office this month after beginning his career with the La Crosse, Va. Police Department.

When his handler left that agency, and no other handler was available, Dino was offered for sale to other law enforcement agencies, at a bargain price. The total cost for dog, equipment, and K-9 sedan comes to $11,000, less than a third of the cost of new.

At least 50 law enforcement agencies inquired about the dog, but Worcester County was the first.

"It was like, ‘you really want to give this up?’" Chief Deputy Doug Dods said of his thoughts upon meeting and testing Dino before the purchase.

"This is a golden opportunity," said Capt. Stuart Murray. "I’ve worked with the dog myself. He is a very high caliber dog for narcotics detection."

Dods said the dog was successful previously in locating a missing child and tracking two criminals resulting felony arrests.

"This dog is going to be phenomenal. He had a good track record in Virgina," Dods said.

The department has been planning to add a narcotics dog to its K-9 staff of three patrol dogs, but knew they would need a funding source like a grant to add the specialist K-9. The patrol dogs are cross-trained for narcotics detection, but a single-task dog has better focus and more intensive training.

"If you get one that’s nothing but scent work, that makes the job a lot easier," Dods said.

Dino and new handler Cpl. Bethany Ramey will be available to all local law enforcement once they complete their training together.

"They’re both very enthusiastic and we think that’s going to be a great match," Dods said.