by Elle Cabrera from https://www.thespectrum.com
K-9 division of DWR gets help from Christian Motorcyclists Association for dog vests
The St. George chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association hosted a motorcycle ride and fundraiser Saturday for K-9 vests.
The CMA-Truth messengers are a group of motorcyclists who travel all over Utah to bless motorcycles and participate in fundraising to help the community. They partnered with the Vietnam Veterans of St. George and Zion Harley Davidson to host this event, which raised more than $1,500 for protective K-9 vests for the Division of Natural Resources and Wildlife.
“We want to support law enforcement in any way we can. We go around to local police departments, the St. George Police department, blessing their motorcycles and their staff,” said Steven Gaither, president of the CMA chapter in St. George. Gaither is also retired from law enforcement.
The fundraiser had food provided by the Veterans and K-9 demonstrations done by the DNR. They brought both tracking and defense dogs to showcase the need for protective vests.
“All of our dogs to tracking, they all do article search and detection work. So, wildlife detection is our specialty in the detection field,” Conservation officer and Lead K-9 trainer Josh Carver said.
These officers specialize in looking for bear poachers and searching for people out in the wild. Often, these dogs will track remains and possibly the poachers themselves which means they’re searching for someone who is potentially armed. These vests can make the difference between life and death for these dogs.
“Tracking is another thing we take pride in. That’s something that we either do for search and rescue, which we love to help when we can, but we do a lot of tracking bad guys-fugitives, trespasser, you name it,” Carver said.
Tracking is a large part of what the DNR does with the K-9 unit. The dogs are picked as early as eight weeks old and their training begins shortly after. Utah K-9s are certified in two states and require 400 hours of work.
To get involved with the CMA visit http://cmaswr2.org/UT/TRUTHMESSENGERS/default.aspx.
To learn more about the DWR K-9 unit visit https://wildlife.utah.gov/news/officers-on-patrol.html.