Release the Hounds! E-mail
Written by by J.W. Kunkle   

Having developed my department's first Police Bloodhound Program and blessed with generous public donations to successfully maintain this invaluable project; I have often been asked how does one get started with a Bloodhound? First and foremost, you must have a compelling desire! Also key is a desire to fundraise (assuming your city has no budgeting available) and the time and skill to properly train the hound as well as yourself.

 

You need to be willing to attend numerous public relations events, and educate your administration, staff, city council and the public on why a trailing hound is so beneficial to the community. Then you must be willing to trail subjects for long distances any time of the day or night in any type of environmental conditions.

The latter is the fun stuff and is why I do it.  Being an experienced hunting houndsman has served me well.  When chasing a hound, a hunt is a hunt as I see it! Nothing will sell your Bloodhound Program like a new hound pup walking the streets with you on patrol.

Hounds are advanced and will start trailing as soon as they can freely run about.  Make no mistake however, not everybody will appreciate your noble efforts.  Sure, there are bad guys out there who will now know they can no longer run and hide; but sadly there are some in other canine disciplines that let their lack of knowledge in scent work, breed performances and personal fears cloud their sense of what collective service dog team work is all about.

I admire all working dogs. You must gain a buy-in from your own people first.  Inform your chief that public funding will come easy from so many service dog enthusiasts in the community like local kennel and pet clubs, the Veteran's Hall, Elks, Lions, Masons, Rotary Club, interested private parties, etc. Your own police association may be helpful as well, but the public at large will be your best ally. Include your traditional K9 partners when you explain how using the hound assists the K9 program with extended trailing and they still get to deploy their own dog to finish the job.

Show how the non-aggressive hound can trail any wanted subject regardless of age or criminal status, thus allowing for increased arrests.  The trailing hound and aggression canine are two very different beasts.  However, while serving two different objectives they do accomplish the same goal which is finding the suspect.

Once your Police Bloodhound Program is under way, keep up your interest in fund raising, attend only quality trailing schools, join well recognized trailing work associations and most importantly, make your hound handling team available to all requesting agencies.

J.W. Kunkle, a sergeant with the Placerville Police Dept. is currently the department's K9 Supervisor, Bloodhound Handler and a member of the National Police Bloodhound Association.  As a POST Master Instructor and the dept. Training Coordinator, he offers a certified Calif. POST 40 hour Man Trailing Course.  During his off time, he trains and hunts with hounds and is the president of the California Houndsmen for Conservation, a statewide organization dedicated to the welfare of all hunting and working dogs afield.  Sgt. Kunkle may be contacted at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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