On October 15, about 25 arson dog and handler teams trained at the Myrtle Beach for the National Arson Dog Re-Certification Program.
One of those awesome pooches is Honey. She attended the program with her handler, James Kanavy, who is a fire investigator from Kentucky.
“If she smells the scents of hydrocarbons, she’ll alert and then we will take samples. We use those samples to help convict people that are involved in arson fires,” Kanavy explained.
Inside the burned out training building, their team looks for traces of fuel along the way. Kanavy said, he uses the command “seek” to tell Honey to look for those fuel sources.
“She’s trained to go find a source, when she goes to a source she will sit. Then I will give her reward which is some food, and we will go back to work,” Kanavy said.
Fraudulent claims from arson cases cost US consumers about 30 billion dollars a year, insurance officials say.
“With the amount of fraud, with the amount of crime, you’re looking at an average increase in premium of $200 to $300 in some areas of the country,” said Heather Paul, the State Farm Arson Dog Coordinator.
State Farm Insurance provided about 79 dogs to fire investigators across the US.
Most are Labrador Retrievers sniffing out flammables like kerosene,gasoline, and lighter fluid.
“It is one of the crimes where the evidence burns up, if we can provide a tool for law enforcement to be able to investigate those crimes quickly, efficiently, save taxpayer dollars, it benefits everybody, it benefits not only State Farm, it benefits those communities where those dogs are placed,” Paul said.
Like all the dogs at the training, Honey’s skills have already beentested for her community.
Kanavy said Honey helped solve a capital murder case by sniffing out the fuel that investigators were able to test.
“When you look at what she did, she helped convict them so that’s what makes you feel good especially if kids are involved,” Kanavy said.
Arson dogs can sniff out fire accelerants faster than any mechanical device, according to tests.
There are 3 active certified arson dog teams in South Carolina, including one with Horry County Fire Rescue.
Image and article source: Carolina Live