- Associated Press - Sunday, March 16, 2014

MAGNOLIA, Miss. (AP) - Pike County is now home to one of the only certified cadaver dogs in southwest Mississippi.

Fernwood Volunteer Fire Department Chief Lycia Moran had her black Labrador retriever certified as a cadaver dog by the United States Police Canine Association. Moran and her dog, Midnight Piper No. 4, attended a certification event last month in Jackson. She was the only female to enter and had the only cadaver dog at the event.

The Enterprise-Journal reports (https://bit.ly/1gwixN7) Moran spent about a year training 6-year-old Midnight Piper to search for human remains.

“I got a lot of help from a lot of people,” Moran said. “It just took a lot of time and a lot of patience and the right dog.”

In a recent demonstration, she showed what the animal is capable of.

Moran hid two small scent samples, consisting of a vial of blood, behind the fire department’s property on Dogwood Drive while Midnight Piper remained in the bed of a pickup unable to see what was going on.

Once the scent samples were in place, she got the dog out of the truck and with a simple command, told him to go to work.

Midnight Piper scanned the property with her nose and, within about two minutes, ran to a truck behind the station and sat down next to one of its wheels, eagerly awaiting her owner. Moran walked over to the truck, reaching into an area just above the wheel and pulled out the sample.

With another command from Moran, the down began another search until honing in on another area about 20 yards away from the truck. The dog was right on target as Moran retrieved the second scent sample right where the Labrador was sitting.

Midnight Piper’s reward? A game of catch with an orange ball.

The dog will join the ranks of other skilled canines in the South Mississippi Search and Rescue team, a group Moran started years ago. It includes several trainers and their dogs, most of which are trained to track live humans.

Moran’s team stands at the ready for any agency that may need the assistance of a dog’s nose.


Information from: Enterprise-Journal, https://www.enterprise-journal.com

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