Missouri Department of Conservation launches canine unit this summer


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) canine unit, consisting of five dogs and their handlers, will be put to work this summer.

MDC said it will use the dogs “for a variety of enforcement investigations, such as evidence recovery and wildlife trafficking.”

“Canine programs have been successfully used by conservation agencies since the late 1970s,” MDC Protection Deputy Chief Dean Harre said. “The implementation of this canine program will help continue MDC’s mission of protecting Missouri’s fish, forest, and wildlife resources.”

36 other states use dogs for conservation efforts.

Three of MDC’s dogs are Labrador Retrievers and two of them are German Shorthaired Pointers.

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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