SALEM, Oregon (KPTV) – The Oregon State Police is expanding what is known as its K-9 conservation team with a lovely new member.
Scout, an 18-month-old Black Lab, is the newest member of the OSP Fish & Wildlife Conservation K-9 team, working to stop poaching in Oregon.
The scout and his handler, Private Shae Ross, were introduced Wednesday at the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife headquarters in Salem. They join K-9 Buck and Senior Trooper Wolcott who was the first anti-poaching team in the state that started in May 2019.
The department says having two K-9 teams will allow them to do more wildlife surveys and also help reduce the workload for longer investigations.
Though Scout is still in the early days of her training, she’s already impressing her handlers.
“He likes toys, he’s a great team player. He loves playing with towels, the King tennis ball. I’m just giving him that positive reinforcement that if he turns down something that he’s supposed to find, he gets a reward and he’s learning really fast, which is great to see,” Agent Ross said.
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The dogs are trained to track human scent for wildlife surveys, along with several types of animals that are commonly poached, including deer, elk, turkey, bear, salmon, and steelhead.
Next, Scout will go out of state for several months of training with Trooper Ross and then head back to Oregon once he’s ready for work.
The two canine teams will primarily solve wildlife crimes, but can also assist with major crimes when needed.