K-9 officers join Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 3, 2023) — The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources recently welcomed new additions to its Law Enforcement Division to assist conservation officers across the commonwealth.

Three sibling Labrador Retrievers - sisters Cosmo and River and their brother Gambit – have joined the division as its new K-9 service dogs.

“In researching the various types of dog breeds that we could add to our division, we wanted dogs that would be approachable and can aid officers in their duties," said Col. Eric Gibson, director of the Law Enforcement Division. “We wanted to create a canine program that would provide a positive reflection of the Department's relationship with the public."

The K-9s are strategically partnered with officers to spread out coverage and serve regional needs. Conservation Officer Evan Hughes and K-9 Cosmo will serve Region 1 in western Kentucky. Conservation Officer Cody Berry and K-9 Gambit will serve Region 2 in southcentral Kentucky. And Conservation Officer Glenn Griffie and K-9 River will serve Region 5 in eastern Kentucky.

The dogs were paired with their conservation officer handlers at the Highland Canine Training center in Harmony, North Carolina. The officers spent three weeks receiving training to handle and communicate with the K-9s, which have been trained to assist in the field with trailing, article location and narcotics detection.

The three dogs reside with the conservation officers and their families to help them to trust and care for each other.

Generally considered the most popular dog breed in the United States, Labrador Retrievers are also a popular choice for law enforcement agencies across the country. They are easy-going, intelligent, easily trained and eager to learn. They are also powerful and indefatigable swimmers and can tolerate cold waters. Those same traits make them a popular breed for outdoor sporting enthusiasts.

Police dogs, or K-9s (an abbreviation for canine), are specifically trained to assist members of law enforcement. Labs are native to Newfoundland, Canada, and were originally developed to retrieve fish for anglers. A confident water dog, the breed also has been used to patrol and protect ships and harbors, among many other duties conducive to natural environments.

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