Meet the new police canines in Punta Gorda

Posted at 10:05 AM, Jan 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-04 10:05:07-05

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. -- The Punta Gorda Police Department introduced its new police canines at the City Council meeting on Wednesday morning.

K9 Chase and K9 Skye posed for pictures with their handlers, also new to the canine assignment.

Last month, the department announced its lone K9, a German Sheppard named Spirit, would retire in favor of two new canines of a gentler breed.  The dogs would focus more on drug detection and welfare checks, rather than apprehending suspects.

Wwednesday, the council met Officer Dean Irving with K9 Chase, a 9 month old chocolate Labrador from Pennsylvania, and Officer Juan Gonzales with K9 Skye, a 14 month old yellow Labrador from Idaho.

Both canines were purchased from Police Service Dogs, a kennel in Oxford, Florida.

The handlers and their canines begin training with the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday. After 160 hours of training the teams will be ready to certify through the United States Police Association (USPCA) in drug detection, and will also be trained in the tracking discipline.