Contributed

Detective dog, from Nelson, joins fight to combat invasive mussels

K9 Major will be on the road starting this month, hunting for quagga and zebra mussels

He loves to work, has a goofball personality and a knack for detecting unusual smells like bear gall bladders, firearms, shell casings, zebra and quagga mussels dead or alive.

His name is K9 Major — the B.C. Conservation Officer Service’s detection dog that’s been on the job since early December, teaching Sgt. Cynthia Mann new things nearly every day, said the province in a news release.

“They are just incredible animals and his drive blows me away. When I put on his harness and show him his toy, that dog switches everything off and he’s zoned into work,” said Mann, who’s based in Nelson and has had the 15-month-old German shepherd since the end of October.

READ MORE: Okanagan water board wants more invasive mussels protection

“I’ve had dogs my whole life so this was a great opportunity. I jumped at the chance to become a handler.”

Like the other COS detection dog Kilo, based in Kelowna with Sgt. Josh Lockwood, Major will primarily be on the road from late March to October, searching for invasive mussels on boats travelling through and into B.C. But he can also assist officers with a variety of other investigations by finding shell casings, poached animals or illegal firearms hidden inside vehicles during hunting season, the release said.

To become a validated detection team, the pair spent five weeks going through intense daily training sessions. They continue to train a couple times a week, searching for hidden objects placed around the office, open spaces or the warehouse where boats, sleds and trailers are stored. Mann watches Major’s every move, looking for an indication he’s found an odour. When he does find what he’s looking for, Major is rewarded with his toy, causing a frenzy of excitement.

READ MORE: More to do in fight against invasive mussels says water board

The B.C. COS leads enforcement operations for the Invasive Mussel Defence Program, which aims to prevent zebra and quagga mussels from entering the province. Beginning in early April, Major and Kilo will be at 12 watercraft inspection stations set up at key points throughout the province. In his first year, Kilo conducted more than 900 inspections and found invasive mussels on two vessels, proving a need for a second detection dog.

Suspected invasive mussels should be disclosed to the report all poachers and polluters line at 1-877-952-7277.

READ MORE: Kelowna chamber wants more federal money to fight invasive mussels in B.C.

READ MORE: Preventing invasive mussels in the Shuswap


edit@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hundreds race, thousands raised at Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet

More than 400 skiers participate in annual event at Shuswap’s Larch Hills

Sicamous Eagles suffer winless weekend

Games against the North Okanagan Knights, Summerland Steam and Kmaloops Storm all ended badly.

Rockslide obstructing traffic in Sunnybrae

Large boulders rolled onto Sunnybrae Canoe-Point Road in the South Shuswap.

Island road trip unkind to playoff-bound Silverbacks

As the ‘Backs hit the road, the chase for a better playoff berth in the Interior was heating up.

South Canoe Elementary made K-8 for one year

The motion was passed to keep students from making multiple transfers

VIDEO: Music stars pay tribute to Kobe Bryant at Grammys award show

Music artists including Billy Ray Cyrus, Rick Ross and Kirk Franklin paid tribute to Bryant

Fire burns through unit at Penticton motel

Quick response from the Penticton Fire Department caught the blaze before it could spread

Woman guilty of dangerous driving crash that left Saanich girl, then 11, unresponsive

Nikirk guilty of one count of dangerous driving causing bodily harm

Alleged Penticton shooter, John Brittain, appears in court to set trial date

Brittain waived his right to a preliminary hearing and opted to proceed straight to trial

$11K fine for Vernon mutual fund dealer

Fines for altering, pre-signing documents between 2014-17

Magic trick hysterics at the Salmon Arm library

Magician Leif David puts his young audience in stitches during Unplug and Play week performance.

Semi strikes pole, knocks power out in North Okanagan

A detour is in effect along Buchanan Road

Man missing from Vernon hotel

Jay Rosenberger, 38, was last seen Friday

Pregnant B.C. woman stuck in Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak

Woman is due to give birth in Wuhan, China unless she can get out

Most Read