State K-9s trained to detect illegally caught fish

Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Environmental Conservation Police say three canines, and their officers, from the agency’s K-9 Unit have completed training in the detection of illegally caught fish.

The officers and their Labrador Retriever partners have completed three weeks of fish detection training offered by the Connecticut State Police K-9 Unit and will be demonstrating their detection abilities at DEEP’s Marine Headquarters (333 Ferry Road, Old Lyme) on Friday, April 10, at  10 a.m.

The training is the first of its kind within the New England State Police Administrator Compact, according to a DEEP press release.

In the future, the unit will also be trained to detect game species as well as fish.

“Fish and game detection canines have been used throughout the country to assist officers in combating illegal fishing, hunting and trapping,” said DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen.  “It is a credit to our EnCon officers that they were interested in working with their dogs to expand their abilities and importance to the agency. These canines and their handlers will be a valuable asset when it comes to protecting the state’s natural resources.”

The canines have been trained to detect certain species of sport fish that are commonly caught in Connecticut, such as trout and striped bass, officials said. The canines were trained to search on vessels, under rocks, along shorelines, and other places illegally taken fish could be hidden.

The officers and their canine partners, Officer Holly Bernier and Saydee, Officer William Logiodice and Ruger, and Officer Karen Reilly and Hunter, were originally certified in tracking and evidence recovery in June 2012.

DEEP obtained the dogs from Connecticut Labrador Rescue Inc., in Haddam.

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