SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A yellow Labrador retriever named Cody has helped Utah wildlife officers embrace using trained dogs to sniff out violations of hunting and fishing rules.
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources acquired two conservation dogs last year, the Deseret News reported Monday. Cody is assigned to the southern half of the state.
Josh Carver, Cody’s handler, said his dog’s first successful case came as a surprise.
Carver brought Cody home this fall and decided to stop at a Cedar City pond to let his new partner take a dip in the water. Instead, Cody honed in on a fisherman sitting near the water’s edge, sniffing out a trout concealed in a nearby bucket. The man lacked a fishing license.
“I can get a job done more quickly because he has a drive that won’t quit,” Carver said. “But when I get home, he knows exactly that it is his playtime. The girls walk their Barbies on him.”
In another instance, a hunter shot a deer that ran off and wound up on private property, where it died from its wounds. The private property owner was sure the hunter was lying about where he shot the animal and wasn’t going to give it up.
“Cody was actually able to prove this guy’s innocence, that he didn’t shoot it on private property,” Carver said. “The guy didn’t have to go kill another deer, and this one didn’t go to waste.”
Carver said schools frequently call him to bring Cody in, which he is happy to do because it opens a discussion on wildlife and conservation.
“It’s been a huge success because Cody shows you how generous he really is,” Carver said. “He works really hard on the job, treats everyone he meets with respect and loves what he is doing.”