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The Truth About Arson Dogs Sniffing Out The Next Fire

Feb 11, 2008
We all know that trained K-9 dogs help police forces track and apprehend criminal offenders often. We also know that there are specially trained drug dogs that aid in the process of finding illegal substances at airports, shipyards, and even residential areas. There are also dogs that are specifically trained as arson dogs.

So, what exactly is an arson dog, and what do they do? Arson dogs are specially trained K-9's in the area of accelerant detection. When a fire occurs, the police will arrive and investigate the scene. If the fire seems suspicious, they will bring in the arson K-9 and their handler. The dog is trained specifically to sniff out miniscule traces of various fire accelerants that could have possibly started the fire.

These dogs undergo a rigorous training program, called the Arson Dog Program, and each dog is assigned a policeman handler. The handler works with their dog, and the duo certainly makes an authoritative team. Not only is the handler a policeman in the fore, they too are specially trained to investigate fire scenes for the possibility of investigating an act of arson.

As far as training goes, the Arson Dog Program (sponsored by a popular insurance agency) was founded in 1993. The dogs in this program are Labrador Retrievers, and they are trained rigorously for five weeks and are certified as arson dogs upon graduation. This particular program uses Labrador Retrievers because their sense of smell works well with recognizing fire accelerants, in addition to having a superior ability to differentiate between certain scents. They also have a friendly sand sweet disposition, which aids in easier training (not to mention almost everyone loves a Retriever!). Since the founding of this program, over two hundred arson dog teams have successfully completed the training, and they are now serving in approximately forty-one states and the District of Columbia in the United States.

Though people may not think that arson is a common crime, there is certainly a need for these specially trained and expert law enforcement teams. Each year, an estimated couple billion dollars worth of property damages, not to mention the loss of hundreds of human lives, is attributed to the terrible crime of arson. Because of this, arson dogs have been working hard to catch and apprehend the felons every day.

These K-9 accelerant detection teams on police forces are as close as family; most of these K-9 dogs actually live with the handler's family in the home when they are off work. This closeness not only companionship for both on the team, it also aids in efforts to keep the relationship between the handler and K-9 close.

These fire accelerant detection teams work tirelessly, 24/7, in order to chase to apprehend arsonists. Because so many lives and money is lost each year due to the terrible crime of arson, programs have been established that are specifically designed to train arson dogs. These dogs are heroes in every sense of the word, and without them, many criminals would run free each year.
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