Officers compete in dog trials

Published 6:00 am Monday, February 19, 2007

Law enforcement in Brookhaven has really gone to the dogs withcanine officers from as far away as Texarkana and Grant, Texas, intown this weekend to participate in the annual USPCA Region 26Trials at the Brookhaven Municipal Airport.

“It’s really going well so far,” said Police Chief PapHenderson. “I’m so impressed with all the different agencies whohave come to Brookhaven to compete. I’m also happy for thecommunity to have such a great event, and I’m grateful for thebeautiful weather.”

Twenty competitors and their canines went through thepreliminary rounds Saturday and will compete again today inobedience, agility and apprehension drills at the airport. Monday’snarcotics detection competition at the old Mississippi HighwayPatrol Building will conclude the trials.

Billy Moore, chief of the Huntsville, Ala., Police Department,said he sees the competition as a great success.

“The quality of competitors I’ve seen is definitely aboveaverage, even though a few of the handlers have told me this istheir first year,” he said. “Usually that brings the average down,but I haven’t seen that in this year’s competition.”

Clint Earls and his Belgian malanois, Felix, of the BrookhavenPolice Department, hold the current title for the competition aswell as the home field advantage. He said the field should expandto about 40 competitors Monday.

“We’ll have several more Monday for the track, attack, andnarcotics competition,” he said. “Already, though, there’s somevery stiff competition. As a K-9 officer, I’m overpleased with theparticipation.”

Most of the competitors to date have been German shepherds andBelgian malanois or mixes of the two breeds. There is one Dutchshepherd.

“The shepherds are a little more methodical,” said Sergeant RyanJames of Grant Parish, La., who was competing with his malanois,Robbie. “The malanois are a little more happy-go-lucky. They’re thehappy biters.”

Malanois as a breed are much more active and playful, he said,while the shepherds tend to view the competition with a morepractical view and treat it more seriously.

According to officials, Monday should bring other more familiarbreeds as well. Earls said it is highly likely Monday’s fieldshould include golden and Labrador retrievers as well as possiblyother breeds in the detection competitions.

Moore said there are often other breeds in the earliercompetitions as well.

“They use different breeds in different parts of the country,”said Moore. “We’ll see some dobermans and rottweilers, as well asmore Dutch shepherds sometimes.”

The USPCA general membership meeting and awards banquet willtake place immediately following the narcotics trials on Mondaynight at the Western Sizzlin.