6 dogs graduate special arson course

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German shepherd Walter and Orange County Sheriff's Office Investigator Justin Worden (left); Labrador retriever Char and Putnam County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Scott Lombardo. (Courtesy of Officer of Governor's Press Office)

The New York State Academy of Fire Science recently graduated six working dogs from its canine accelerant detection course. The half-dozen pooches have been assigned to different departments across the state to assist in arson investigations.

"Canine teams across the state serve in important roles protecting New Yorkers, and I am confident that these six new, highly-skilled teams will do the same," Commissioner John Melville of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services said in a statement. "Canines and their partners serve the public in a variety ways including bomb detection, arson investigation, pursuit of criminals, and in search and rescue situations, and these six teams add to the state’s abilities to investigate arson crimes."

The dogs and their handlers trained together for eight weeks at the academy. During the course, the dogs and the handlers learned to detect the scent of liquids that may be linked to arson, officials said. The dogs were also trained to handle riding in boats, helicopters, and aerial trucks as well as being around large groups of people, bodies of water, elevators, and escalators.

Private individuals donated German shepherd Roscoe and German shepherd mix Zena for service. Roscoe is assigned to Rockland County Sheriff's Office Det. Dwayne Defino. Zena is assigned to Office of Fire Prevention and Control Investigator Kristi Geary.

Saratoga County Animal Shelter donated Lab mix Bucca and Lab Char. Bucca works with New York City Fire Department Fire Marshal Joseph DiGiacomo. Char and Putnam County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Scott Lombardo are partners.

Mohawk Hudson Humane Society donated German shepherd Walter, who is assigned to Orange County Sheriff's Office Investigator Justin Worden.

Peppertree Rescue in Albany donated Lab mix Axe and Erie County Sheriff's Office Det. Scott Kuhlmey.