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Canine competitors conclude contests

“My theory is each of us is competing against a perfect dog whodoesn’t exist,” said Doug McArthur of the Jackson County Sheriff’sDepartment. “But everyone did really well out there. All the drugswere found; all the suspects were apprehended.”

McArthur was speaking of this weekend’s USPCA Region 26 Trialsheld in Brookhaven, which brought in 35 competitors from as faraway as Texas. The event was hosted by the Brookhaven Police andJackson County Sheriff’s Departments.

Brookhaven Police K-9 Officer Clint Earls placed with his dogFelix in several minor categories, was second overall in Patrol andwas on the winning four-man patrol team. Earls said he felt theevent was a big success.

“I really enjoyed y’all being here,” he told the crowd at Mondayafternoon’s banquet and award presentation. “I think everythingwent great, and we didn’t even have anything go too far out ofwhack.”

Monday’s events consisted of indoor and outdoor narcoticssearches, and Region 26 Chief Judge Billy Moore of Huntsville saidhe has been consistently pleased over the years with Region 26’snarcotics dogs.

“They had really good scores – Narc dogs in this area havereally good training,” he said. “I’ve been down here three or fourtimes and the narcotics dogs down here have always impressedme.”

Frank Klok, the police dog trainer from Holland who flew in towatch the trials, said the dogs were impressive. But he was alsoproud of the officers competing.

“There were a lot of really good officers here,” he said. “Theyare very dedicated.”

The officers and dogs involved, though, definitely kept thetrials in perspective, making certain to have fun while doing thework as well.

“You guys over here in Region 26 have fun with what you’redoing,” said District 10 judge David Williams of Covington, La.”Keep it that way.”

But the importance of the training, competition and dogcertification wasn’t lost on the competitors either.

“It’s easy to get tied up in the politics,” said Howell. “All ofus need to back up and look: When you get the dope dealer off thestreet, there’s a kid somewhere that can’t buy drugs from himanymore.

And nobody else is going to say thank you, because nobody elseknows what we do on the street,” he continued.

The overall Top Dog award went to Brad Weathers of the LamarCounty Sheriff’s Department and his dog Mikey.

Brookhaven’s team of Earls and Felix came home with a secondplace in obedience, a third in agility, a third in search andseizure, first in four-man patrol, and a second place overall inpatrol.

Former Brookhaven resident Chris Picou also took home several ofthe awards with his dog Rocky, including a tie for first in two-manteams, a first in four-man patrol, third in obedience, and secondin agility.