Homeless Dog Gets a Second Chance on K-9 Unit

Baltimore Humane Society article, Carroll County Times

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The future for year-old German Shepherd, Jerry Lee, didn’t look so bright just a few short weeks ago when he was found wandering the streets alone.

Rescued by a postman who was unable to keep him, the friendly shepherd ended up being sheltered at the Baltimore Humane Society in Reisterstown. That’s when his luck changed. Animal Care Director, Bemo Combs, noticed Jerry Lee had all the qualities that fit the profile of recruits for the Maryland Division of Correction Canine Unit, and she quickly called them to come down from Hagerstown to “interview” the dog.

Jerry Lee is now on his way to being a drug-sniffing dog with the canine unit. The Baltimore Humane Society shelter resident was adopted by the unit on Feb.23. The canine unit is a division of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. Characteristics desired by the canine unit include a dog who is confident, remains calm and steady when suddenly approached, and is ball-driven Once a dog is considered a good candidate, the canine recruit is matched with a handler and enters a 10-week Narcotic Detection Dog Academy.

Capt. Mark Flynn of the Correction Canine Unit said the unit has used many dogs from shelters that are still in service today. “We like to take our dogs from shelters. First, it saves lives.Second, it saves the state a lot of money,” he said. “It cost us thousands of dollars to buy one dog from a breeder. A Labrador, for instance, can cost between $1,500 to $3,000 — and that’s untrained. If the dog is pretrained by a breeder it can cost the state $6,000.”

Upon graduation Jerry Lee will be partnered with an officer as a patrol dog or a drug sniffer.

It’s not the first time a shelter dog has made his way onto the state’s corrections K-9 unit. In September, a Lab-mix named Bruiser was also adopted and trained as a drug-sniffer. For more information about Baltimore Humane Society, go to www.bmorehumane.org or call 410-833-8848.