Wildlife Officials Train Fish-sniffing Dogs to Use as Secret Weapon Against Poachers
OutdoorHub Reporters 04.23.15
Poachers beware, there is a new dog in town and it has a nose for fish. According to WFSB, Connecticut wildlife officials recently unveiled their newest program to train dogs to detect illegally-caught fish.
In conjunction with a state police K-9 unit, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) successfully trained three dogs to sniff out fish like trout, striped bass, and black fish. While wildlife-detecting dogs are not exactly anything new, these specialized fish-sniffers offer states like Connecticut a way to detect poaching that did not exist before. Officials say that the canines are able to point out where fish are hidden in boat compartments and in cars, making it easier for law enforcement to identify poaching.
“What his job is to identify the location of the fish,” said William Logiodice, of DEEP Police about his new partner, a four-year-old labrador. “We’re going to use them as an investigative tool.”
A handful of other states also have fish-detecting dogs, such as Florida and New Hampshire, and interest seems to be growing among wildlife agencies. State departments have used canines for years to detect illegal hunting and trapping, and in 2013, the US Fish and Wildlife Service began training dogs to identify smugglers of wildlife parts. Some dogs even specialize in hunting down pythons in the Florida Everglades.
“It is a credit to our EnCon officers that they were interested in working with their dogs to expand their abilities and importance to the agency,” DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen told the Associated Press. “These canines and their handlers will be a valuable asset when it comes to protecting the state’s natural resources.”
DEEP officials added that while fish poaching is not especially prevalent in Connecticut, the dogs are an excellent tool in preventing people from fishing out of season, and catching those who do. Fines for illegally catching fish start at $75 but could go much higher depending on the circumstances.
You can watch a video of the dogs in action below: