PIPESTEM, W.Va. (WBOY) — West Virginia’s first Division of Natural Resources (DNR) K-9 officers have graduated and “are ready to serve the citizens and sportsmen and women of West Virginia,” according to DNR Police.
The group of six officers and six K-9s were recognized in a ceremony at Pipestem State Park after weeks of rigorous training. The K-9s and handlers are certified in tracking, article search and wildlife detection, according to a Facebook post by DNR police.
Each K-9 and officer pair will assist officers and citizens in the field in one of the West Virginia DNR districts.
In north central West Virginia, Corporal Aaron Clevenger and Ziva will serve District 1, which includes Monongalia, Preston, Marion, Harrison, Taylor, Tucker and Barbour counties, Sgt. Chris Fitzwater and Cena will serve District 3, which includes Lewis, Upshur, Randolph and Webster counties, and Officer John Casto and Keen will serve District 6, which includes Doddridge, Ritchie and Gilmer counties.
Across the state, Officer Matthew Stover and Luna will serve District 2, Officer Dusty Allen and Pepper will serve District 4, and Officer Cody Smith and Maze will serve District 5.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice first announced the DNR K-9 program back in December with the aim of “protecting our natural resources and ensuring the safety of all who call West Virginia home.” The dogs are all German short- and wire-haired pointers and Labrador retrievers.