Members of an area canine search team continue to train several times a week, and are now seeking more members and volunteers — whether they own a dog or not.
“You don’t have to have a dog,” Christy Moore said. “We need spotters and other people who will hide from the dogs to help with training and support. The dog owners are concentrating on the animals.”
The club is also raising funds to support its efforts. On Sunday, July 1, members will serve barbecue and snow-cones at the BCI parking lot near Wal-Mart, with proceeds going to the club. A screened canopy will also be given away.
The funds will help the club finish the application needed to obtain non-profit status, to purchase supplies like a GPS unit, radios and laptops to load maps.
“The dogs are really smart, and we enjoy it, but we take it very seriously,” Moore said. “We need to be sure we know how to handle ourselves and our dogs. We need to be able to handle ourselves professionally.”
The group of about dozen members meets shortly after 6 p.m. at Riverside Park for about two hours each Tuesday and Thursday, and a six- to eight-hour training session is planned on a Sunday each month.
Club members are working to finish the training and other requirements needed to obtain official certification allowing all of them to officially assist law enforcement officers in search efforts. Their efforts will be restricted to searches, not rescues, due to the scope of their training and certification.
“We are training our dogs to search in different environments,” co-founder Judy Williams said during a recent afternoon training session at Riverside Park. Those include wilderness, urban, rubble and buildings. Williams co-founded the club with Meta Pierce and Virginia Brenner, and they have been training dogs since last summer.
“We need help finding and training in each of those environments,” Williams said. “The more we train, the bigger impact we can make in the community when we are needed. We would especially like to find some building rubble where we can train.”
Williams attended a K-9 academy in Abilene. After that, she contacted the Mark-9 ground from the Dallas area for assistance in founding the local club.
Anyone interested in joining the Clover 7 K-9 Search Team may call Williams at 643-2123, Pierce at 642-6141 or Brenner at 998-3816.