‘Peak’ performance: Meet the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office’s trailing K9

Peak performance: meet the MCSO’s bloodhound

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The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office has an extra set of paws helping them track down missing people.

In fact, Peak the bloodhound helped find a missing person who was reported missing a few weeks ago.

Besides winning over hearts with her cute face and droopy ears, Peak was also winning on the police force.

“She only does one job, and that’s basically tracking and looking for people,” said Deputy Michael Ottley with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

At just seven months, Peak was state certified for tracking. Then, at 14 months, she was certified through the National Police Bloodhound Association as a trailing K9.

“One of the first kids that she found was an autistic child that ran out of the back of a house,” Ottley said. “When we got there she was of course ready to work, like always, she took the scent article and in this case we used just a sneaker, I presented the scent article and she took off and she ran right down a couple different trails, make a couple turns and found the child hiding in some bushes.”

As her handler, Ottley says Peak is a crucial resource for the department.

“Honestly one of the biggest highs, or more of like a absolute adrenaline rush, is when you are tracking somebody and you’ve tracked them for awhile and you do find them; especially when they’re actively trying to hide from you — that is a positive and rewarding experience,” he said.

Ottley says Peak’s vision isn’t the best, which is why he says she smells her way into things.

So this is her right here, this is a normal thing that she does. She loves just putting her nose to the ground, taking it all in as much as she can,” Ottley said, adding, “When she finds who she’s looking for, she’s been trained to just jump on the person; it’s her positive ID and she loves working because that’s when she gets her treats.”

He says though Peak is mainly treat-driven to do her job, she’s also friendly with people in the community.

“Some of the more, you know, endangered type people in society is who we’re out looking for, so we want her to be happy and friendly every time she finds somebody or every time she encounters somebody. We don’t ever want her to be hostile or apprehensive,” Ottley said.

Although she might only be four years old, she’s definitely at the “Peak” of her game.