It’s official! One of the longest-serving arson dogs in the history of the Louisiana Fire Marshal’s Office is retiring.
November 30 will be Darge the arson Labrador’s last day of work after serving for more than a decade as one of Louisiana’s arson dogs.
“Darge has performed services in nearly every parish of the state, focusing most of his attention in southeast Louisiana, where he is familiar to most law enforcement and fire officials,” the agency said as they announcedthe Lab’s retirement.
K9s like Darge work in helping investigators know whether an “accelerant” — gas, kerosene or other substances — was used to start and spread a fire.
“Because of their very sensitive noses, these dogs are capable of detecting trace amounts of ignitable substances, thus allowing investigators to pinpoint samples which are then submitted for laboratory analysis,” said the Fire Marshal’s Office.
“The use of detector dogs significantly reduces the amount of time and effort required to locate these substances on fire scenes, resulting in additional savings to Louisiana taxpayers.”
The Labrador Retriever is from the State Farm Arson Dog Program where his training was provided by Maine Specialty Dogs, which is certified by the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.
After initial ‘imprinting,’ the process of training dogs to detect odors connected with products commonly used to start fires, the canines are partnered with a handler.Together, they complete a five-week training course in Alfred, Maine.
“Darge has been instrumental in the arrests of dozens of arsonists since his arrival at the state Fire Marshal’s Office in 2004, including those attempting to defraud insurance companies by the filing of false claims,” says the agency. “These arrests, in turn, save Louisiana citizens on their insurance premiums by diminishing fraudulent claims, the costs of which are unfortunately born by other policyholders.”
Darge will live the rest of his retired life with his handler, District Chief Lance LaMarca, and his family.
Thank you for your service Darge! Happy Tails in your well-deserved retirement!
Images: State Farm/Flickr
Source: Houma Today