Sgt. Cynthia Mann with B.C. Conservation Officer Service’s (COS) K9 Major, a detection dog that’s been on the job since early December, and Mann says he teaches her new things nearly every day. B.C. Conservation Officer Service photo:

Detection dog hired to search out zebra and quagga mussels dead or alive

B.C. Conservation Officer Service adds a second detection dog to their staff

North Thompson

Star/Journal

Sergeant Cynthia Mann can’t stop gushing about her new partner.

He loves to work, has a goofball personality and a knack for detecting unusual smells like bear gall bladders, firearms, shell casings, zebra and quagga mussels dead or alive.

His name is K9 Major – the B.C. Conservation Officer Service’s (COS) second detection dog that’s been on the job since early December, teaching Mann new things nearly every day.

“They are just incredible animals and his drive blows me away. When I put on his harness and show him his toy, that dog switches everything off and he’s zoned into work,” said Mann, who’s based in Nelson and has had the 15-month-old German shepherd since the end of October.

“I’ve had dogs my whole life so this was a great opportunity. I jumped at the chance to become a handler.”

Like the other COS detection dog Kilo, based in Kelowna with Sgt. Josh Lockwood, Major will primarily be on the road from late March to October, searching for invasive mussels on boats traveling through and into B.C. But he can also assist officers with a variety of other investigations by finding shell casings, poached animals or illegal firearms hidden inside vehicles during hunting season.

To become a validated detection team, the pair spent five weeks going through intense daily training sessions. They continue to train a couple times a week, searching for hidden objects placed around the office, open spaces or the warehouse where boats, sleds and trailers are stored. Mann watches Major’s every move, looking for an indication he’s found an odour. When he does find what he’s looking for, Major is rewarded with his toy, causing a frenzy of excitement.

“He just goes nuts when he makes a find,” said Mann, who’s with Major 24/7, but keeps him in a crate at night. “He’s not my pet and that’s something as a handler you have to really keep in mind. We have a great time together and he gets a lot of affection, but he is a working dog.”

The B.C. COS leads enforcement operations for the Invasive Mussel Defence Program, which aims to prevent zebra and quagga mussels from entering the province. Beginning in early April, Major and Kilo will be at 12 watercraft inspection stations set up at key points throughout the province. In his first year, Kilo conducted more than 900 inspections and found invasive mussels on two vessels, proving a need for a second detection dog.

“There are numerous inspection stations spread throughout the province that officers are responsible for, so it’s important to have a canine readily available. One dog would be well over capacity,” said Doug Forsdick, chief conservation officer. “These dogs are a valuable tool for detecting invasive mussels and other illegal wildlife items that are being transported throughout B.C.”

Suspected invasive mussels should be disclosed to the report all poachers and polluters (RAPP) line at 1 877 952-7277.

For more information about the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/natural-resource-stewardship/natural-resource-law-enforcement/conservation-officer-service

For more information about invasive mussel defence, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/invasive-mussels

~ Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy

Just Posted

UPDATED: Police nab suspect who escaped arrest

Man described to have several tattoos and is wearing dark pinstriped ‎pajama-style pants

West Fraser announces the permanent closure of Chasm sawmill

The third shift for the 100 Mile House location will also be eliminated

Winter Waterfalls project brings 7,500 visitors

Pilot project offered a unique waterfall viewing experience

The importance of cleaning your hummingbird feeder

Feeders need to be thoroughly cleaned at least every three days in hot weather

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction in May

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

B.C. farmers concerned Agricultural Land Reserve changes choking their livelihood

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting hosted on Vancouver Island

UPDATE: Two-year-old involved in Chilliwack pool drowning has died

Toddler was reported to not be breathing as air ambulance called out Thursday afternoon

B.C. high school withdraws notices for temporary dress code

Parents previously told the Interior News they felt there was inadequate consultation over the rules

Most Read