Sgt. Cynthia Mann with K9 Major. Photo submitted

New conservation service detection dog stationed in Nelson

K9 Major works with Sgt. Cynthia Mann

Submitted

Sgt. Cynthia Mann can’t stop gushing about her new partner.

He loves to work, has a goofball personality and he has a knack for detecting unusual smells like bear gall bladders, firearms, shell casings, zebra and quagga mussels dead or alive.

His name is K9 Major — the B.C. Conservation Officer Service’s second detection dog that’s been on the job since early December, teaching Mann new things nearly every day.

“They are just incredible animals and his drive blows me away. When I put on his harness and show him his toy, that dog switches everything off and he’s zoned into work,” said Mann, who’s based in Nelson and has had the 15-month-old German shepherd since the end of October.

“I’ve had dogs my whole life so this was a great opportunity. I jumped at the chance to become a handler.”

Like the other detection dog Kilo, based in Kelowna with Sgt. Josh Lockwood, Major will primarily be on the road from late March to October, searching for invasive mussels on boats travelling through and into B.C. But he can also assist officers with a variety of other investigations by finding shell casings, poached animals or illegal firearms hidden inside vehicles during hunting season.

To become a validated detection team, the pair spent five weeks going through intense daily training sessions. They continue to train a couple times a week, searching for hidden objects placed around the office, in open spaces or in the warehouse where boats, sleds and trailers are stored. Mann watches Major’s every move, looking for an indication he’s found an odour. When he does find what he’s looking for, Major is rewarded with his toy, causing a frenzy of excitement.

“He just goes nuts when he makes a find,” said Mann, who’s with Major 24/7, but keeps him in a crate at night. “He’s not my pet and that’s something as a handler you have to really keep in mind. We have a great time together and he gets a lot of affection, but he is a working dog.”

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service leads enforcement operations for the invasive mussel defence program, which aims to prevent zebra and quagga mussels from entering the province. Beginning in early April, Major and Kilo will be at 12 watercraft inspection stations set up at key points throughout the province. In his first year, Kilo conducted more than 900 inspections and found invasive mussels on two vessels, proving a need for a second detection dog.

“There are numerous inspection stations spread throughout the province that officers are responsible for, so it’s important to have a canine readily available. One dog would be well over capacity,” said Doug Forsdick, chief conservation officer. “These dogs are a valuable tool for detecting invasive mussels and other illegal wildlife items that are being transported throughout B.C.”

Suspected invasive mussels should be disclosed to the report all poachers and polluters (RAPP) line at 1-877-952-7277.

Just Posted

Rural dividend grants awarded in Kootenay West

Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy made the grant announcements in Trail on Thursday

Castlegar Realtor honoured for achievements

Re/Max recognized Castlegar and Grand Forks realtor Lorene MacGregor

Castlegar gymnasts vault into competition

Selkirk Challengers Gymnastics Club attended the BC Artistic Compulsory Gymnastics Championships.

The economic state of Castlegar & District

A look at the themes discussed at the State of the Kootenays: An Economic Update

FireSmart work happening in upper Kinnaird on City of Castlegar land

FireSmart vegetation management work being done to reduce fire risk.

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Man airlifted to hospital after apparent hunting incident in East Kootenay

The man was in stable condition when he was flown out of Fairmont Hot Springs to a Calgary hospital

Police probe eight fires set at B.C. elementary school

Nanaimo RCMP say fires appear to have been set intentionally

Most Read