NEWPORT — Warden Jenna Reed of Newport and her K9 partner, a German shepherd named Moose, recently graduated from a six-week training program to become the state’s newest K9 game warden unit.
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department currently has three other K9 units stationed in Wells River, Fair Haven, and Wilmington.
Warden Reed and Officer Moose are certified in tracking and evidence recovery. Moose will be deployed for everything from tracking a suspect that has run from law enforcement, to finding a missing child or recovering a shell casing in the grass from a bullet that has been fired at a deer illegally.
Reed has wanted to be a K9 handler since she was a child.
“I’ve always known I wanted to do this, even before I thought about becoming a game warden,” said Reed.
According to Reed, she was first offered Moose by a neighbor who was unable to spend as much time as she would like at home with him. The one-year-old shepherd was obedient and well-socialized, but full of energy.
“Moose needs a job and to keep busy, so this is a perfect fit for him, and he’s taken to it well,” said Reed.
Reed points out that Moose can find a piece of evidence in a few minutes that might take all day for her to find, sniffing out small amounts of gun powder residue on the shell casing.
Warden K9 units have previously worked successfully to find an autistic boy who went missing, a couple out hiking who became lost in a cold rain, and in at least one instance, a pair of truck keys that were accidentally dropped in the bushes while a warden was afield.
The new team will be a welcome addition to a busy law enforcement division.
“Moose is both a partner and a companion,” said Reed. “I’m excited to start putting him to work with me in the field.”