K-9 Graduation Ceremony Scheduled for Thursday, July 3

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K-9 Graduation Ceremony Scheduled for Thursday, July 3Five dogs will graduate from the Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) K-9 Academy Thursday at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area in Davis. This is the third group of K-9 teams to graduate and dogs will be staged throughout California to help wardens in stopping criminal activities and searching vessels for Quagga mussels.

“The K-9 units already in the field have proven themselves very useful,” said Chief Nancy Foley, DFG Law Enforcement Division. “We’ve made several abalone, fish, turkey and deer poaching cases with the dogs’ help and this graduating class will only aid DFG enforcement efforts.”

At the ceremony, previous and current K-9 graduates will demonstrate detection and apprehension abilities starting at 10:30 a.m. Each of the dogs will also receive a K-9 game warden badge.

In addition to standard patrol support, the dogs will assist with searches for missing persons and suspects, and in locating evidence such as spent ammunition and hidden firearms. The dogs have also been trained in apprehending suspects, making them especially useful to wardens in rural patrol areas where backup can be more than an hour away.

“With these graduates, we now have 17 dogs deployed statewide,” said Lt. Lynette Shimek, K-9 handler and program coordinator. “With the small number of wardens currently working in the state, these 17 dogs will be a tremendous help to their handlers in the fight to protect our natural resources.”

Depending upon the team’s patrol area each will specialize in detecting a variety of scents including bear, deer, fish, elk, abalone and waterfowl. All of the DFG dogs have been trained in detecting ammunitions as well as Quagga and Zebra mussels, the small invasive freshwater invasive mussels that seriously threaten California’s economy and environment. The training in ammunition and associated odor detection provides evidence search support and an additional level of homeland security for California.

The new teams add coverage to Siskiyou and Plumas counties in addition to the other 33 counties that have K-9 support, including: Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Lake, Lassen, Madera, Marin, Mendocino, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, San Benito, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, Tulare and Yolo counties.

Each team will have a specific patrol area, but will be available to travel to other areas if necessary. DFG plans to train up to 24 police service dogs to be staged around the state within the next seven months.

DFG’s K-9 Program is funded largely through private donations. Donated funds are received and administered by a not-for-profit organization that works hand-in-hand with DFG and its secret witness reporting program “CalTIP” (Californians Turn in Poachers and Polluters). The organization, CalTIP Inc., is a charitable organization designated under section 501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Organizations, agencies and individuals can sponsor or donate funds to support a K-9 unit and all donations are tax deductible. For more information, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/K9


  • From Sacramento, take I-80 toward San Francisco and exit County Road 32a. Go right at the stop sign, under the freeway. Follow Chiles Road to Wildlife Area headquarters (left).
  • From San Francisco, take the Chiles Road exit. Go right and make a left at the first stop sign onto Chiles Road. Follow Chiles Road to Wildlife Area headquarters (right).

Third Academy Graduates:

  • Handler: Chad Elliott
    K-9: Jonah, 19-month-old yellow Labrador retriever
    Assignment: Mono and Inyo counties
  • Handler: Erick Elliott
    K-9: Rusty, 20-month-old yellow Labrador retriever
    Assignment: Alpine, Amador and El Dorado counties
  • Handler: Bob Pera
    K-9: Ruger, 2-year-old German shepherd
    Assignment: Butte and Glenn counties
  • Handler: Joe Powell
    K-9: Katie, 3-year-old black Labrador retriever
    Assignment: Siskiyou and Shasta counties
  • Handler: Lisa Stone
    K-9: Donna, 3-year-old German shepherd
    Assignment: Lassen, Plumas and Butte counties

Additional K-9 Teams

  • Handler: Warden Loren Freeman
    K-9: Leo, 2-year-old German shepherd
    Assignment: Lake and Mendocino counties
  • Handler: Warden Kyle Kroll
    K-9: Buck, 4-year-old German shepherd
    Assignment: Santa Clara, San Benito and Monterey counties
  • Handler: Warden Gene Weckman
    K-9: Nash, 16-month-old Belgian shepherd
    Assignment: Butte and Glenn counties
  • Handler: Warden Brian Gallaher
    K-9: Tres, 14-month-old German shepherd
    Assignment: Modoc and Lassen counties
  • Handler: Warden Brian Boyd
    K-9: Phebe, 16-month-old Malinois
    Assignment: Shasta and Tehama counties
  • Handler: Lt. Lynette Shimek, Program Coordinator
    K-9: Ellen, 5-year-old German shepherd
    Assignment: Statewide training
  • Handler: Warden Robert Pelzman
    K-9: Nigel, 15-month-old Labrador retriever
    Assignment: Placer County
  • Handler: Warden Christy Wurster
    K-9: Wrigley, 2-year-old German Shorthair- Labrador-golden retriever mix
    Assignment: Amador, Alpine and El Dorado counties
  • Handler: Warden Lorraine Doyle
    K-9: Iris, 2-year-old Labrador retriever
    Assignment: Fresno County
  • Handler: Warden Lori Oldfather
    K-9: Louie, 2-year-old, Labrador retriever
    Assignment: City of Stockton
  • Handler: Warden Roxanne Bowers
    K-9: Cooper, 2-year-old Hound mix
    Assignment: Alameda County
  • Handler: Warden Laurie Knowles
    K-9: Iggy, 5-year-old, Labrador retriever
    Assignment: Amador County