Abused dog finds award-winning new life working in Kansas law enforcement

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JUNCTION CITY, Kan. — An abused 4-year-old German shepherd rescued in 2018 from an animal shelter in Junction City, Kansas is now being recognized as the 2021 Detector Dog Case of the Year, after she sniffed out 95 pounds of methamphetamine during a traffic stop.

The German shepherd was brought to the Junction City-Geary County Animal shelter in October of 2018. The shelter’s staff named her Nova. They said she had a deep wound around her muzzler, which made them think she had been bound with a rope or wire.

Nova is a rescue and works for the Geary County Sheriff’s Office (Photo courtesy Geary County Sheriff’s Office)

The Geary County Sheriff’s Office had discussed getting a second drug-detecting dog from a shelter. That’s when deputies found Nova. In March 0f 2019, Nova became certified in narcotics detection and tracking through the heart of the America Police Dog Association with her handler, Lt. Justin Stopper.

“We thought we could provide a tool for the county that somebody discarded and it was at no cost to the taxpayers,“ Stopper said in 2019. Even her adoption fee to cover veterinary care was paid by an anonymous donation.

During the week of Sept. 26, 2021, Geary County Sheriff’s Office K9 Nova attended the annual Heart of America Police Dog Association certification event held in Ankeny, Iowa.

The award was presented to her for her role in the 2020 traffic stop that was conducted by members of the Geary County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Interdiction Team in October of 2020.

According to the sheriff’s office, Nova still has the scars from her abuse. Deputies say she still welcomes the opportunity to socialize with anybody she meets and loves to work.

Nova is a rescue and works for the Geary County Sheriff’s Office (Photo courtesy Geary County Sheriff’s Office)

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