Super sniffer on the job

There has been a "Major" addition to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, and Sgt. Cynthia Mann can't stop gushing about her new partner.

He has a knack for detecting unusual smells like bear gall bladders, firearms, shell casings, zebra and quagga mussels – dead or alive.  

And all he asks for in return is his favourite toy and a "Good boy."

Major is the service’s second detection dog, and has been on the job since early December.

“They are just incredible animals, and his drive blows me away. When I put on his harness and show him his toy, that dog switches everything off and he’s zoned into work,” said Mann, who’s based in Nelson.

The service's other detection dog, Kilo, is based in Kelowna with Sgt. Josh Lockwood.

Major will primarily be on the road from late March to October, searching for invasive mussels on boats travelling through and into B.C.

But he can also assist officers with a variety of other investigations by finding shell casings, poached animals or illegal firearms hidden inside vehicles during hunting season.

“He just goes nuts when he makes a find,” says Mann, who’s with Major 24/7, but keeps him in a crate at night. “He’s not my pet, and that’s something as a handler you have to really keep in mind. We have a great time together and he gets a lot of affection, but he is a working dog.”

Beginning in early April, Major and Kilo will be at 12 watercraft inspection stations set up at key points throughout the province. In his first year, Kilo conducted more than 900 inspections.  

Suspected invasive mussels should be disclosed to the report all poachers and polluters (RAPP) line at 1-877-952-7277.

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