ST. LOUIS – When you hear the words “canine unit,” you likely equate it with law enforcement or the military, but now the Missouri Department of Conservation also has a statewide canine unit.
Conservation Agent Don Clever with the Missouri Department of Conservation and his sidekick Penny explained what the canine unit will be used for out on the Lakeside Renovation and Design Weather Deck.
Clever said conservation agents are the protection branch of the MDC and he said Penny will also be doing law enforcement duties.
The dogs in the unit are sporting breed dogs. Clever said there are three labrador retrievers and two german shorthaired pointers.
The dogs’ duties include assisting in tracking violators, search and rescue efforts, detecting concealed wildlife, and evidence recoveries like searching for guns, shell casings, cell phones, and more.
The dogs will also be out in the community visiting schools.
The approved conservation agent-handlers and canines are:
- Cpl. Susan Swem and Lab, Astro, stationed in the southwest region;
- Cpl. Justin Pyburn and Lab, Korra, stationed in the Kansas City region;
- Cpl. Agent Caleb Pryor and Pointer, Zara, stationed in the northwest region;
- Cpl. Don Clever and Lab, Penny, stationed in the northeast region; and
- Cpl. Alan Lamb and Pointer, Tex, stationed in the southeast region.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has its own canine training program and provided training services to MDC’s canine unit. The nine-week program began in February. The dogs have all since graduated.
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