Aroo! Zoe, Charlotte County K-9 who howls like a siren, reports for duty
PUNTA GORDA, Fla. (SNN TV) — The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office has something to smile about. That’s because one of their newest service members has something to sniff about.
Corporal Steven Sella said nothing can replace his old partner, K-9 Copper who died after recovering from a surgery in August.
He, along with Sella’s other partner, K-9 Scar, were a constant presence in Sella’s career.
"I [work with] two dogs. I have a divider in my car, so there’s an empty space," Sella said.
At least, it was empty. Until Zoe came to work.
She’s the Charlotte County Sheriff Office’s new bloodhound. And while she doesn’t bark at bikes as Copper did, Sella said she has a different habit.
"The big thing I noticed with her right away, is driving home from training with her, [and] I had emergency vehicles responding to accident on [Interstate] 75," Sella said. "They were passing by my car, and she tried to match their siren by howling."
He didn't know if this was a one-off or a habit of hers. But just last week, the siren howling happened again.
"That is her quirk. It’s awesome. I love it," Sella smiled.
As far as her job, she’s asked to find missing endangered people with her nose and one other body part. The big ears of a hound are cute, but they’re also a good tracking mechanism because as the head of a dog is on the ground, the ears help to funnel the scent into the dog’s nose as it’s tracking.
After Copper died and before Zoe began, the Sheriff’s Office relied on patrol dogs to find missing people.
"It’s been difficult. There have been tracks we can’t use our patrol dogs on. So not having those resources available lessens the odds of finding that person and bringing them home safe," said Sella.
You have to tell a bloodhound what odor to find, which is done by DNA scent kits.
"There’s a glass jar in here and a gauze pad," Sella said as he held a scent kit box. "Any of our at-risk or wandering adults, we can take this gauze pad, we let them wipe their armpits, around their face, and put it in the jar and keep it for 10 years."
And now they’ll be giving that pad to Zoe.
"She's going to make her own name," Sella said.
The DNA scent kits are available free to members of the community.