The Rogers County Sheriff’s Office is preparing a fundraising event to benefit the K-9 Search and Rescue team on June 24 at the Claremore Community Center located at 2301 N. Sioux.
The 2017 Cop Diggity Dog Festival will be from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. with the intention of good community interaction with members of the RCSO, as well as raising funds for upcoming canine training.
A multi-faceted schedule of events will take place there at the family-oriented public gathering, with an opportunity to meet members of the RCSO.
There will be a free-to-enter kid’s coloring contest; a $1 per chance to go dog bobbin’ for ducks; fee-based dunk tank; and more.
The family feast consists of a hot dog or hamburger with chips and drink for $5.
Raffle tickets for a chance to win gift baskets donated by Purina, Garmin, Okie Dog Supply, Mule Brand Hunting Clothes, High Tower Business Solutions, Houndsman’s Hunts, Dave’s RV are 10 tickets for $20, and need not be present to win.
Vendors interested in selling goods have the option to rent outside space for $50, or inside space for $100.
There are four certified canines in the SAR team, with one in training (Punkin’).
Two bloodhounds — Ryder and Josie — are trained by their handler RCSO Auxiliary Deputy Teresa Dye to ground scent, while SAR Shepherd-mixed Gus and English shepherd Beauregard are trained by RCSO Auxiliary Deputy Tracey Wallis to air scent tracks.
Various training has taken the SAR team to Virginia, Kentucky and other states. Dye said, “Josie did her first 48-hour trail on pavement for an individual picked up in a car that was a 42 hours old trail after a storm here in town. And she went straight to the location.”
During all searches both owners give the canines authority and permission to continue searching. Meanwhile, if they pick up scent they have to determine whether to trust them or continue working them to see where they lead.
One example was after a March manhunt ensued in Verdigris for Brian Benedict, 30, after RCSO believed he murdered his own father.
Dye said since it was a policing matter, she turned Ryder over to law enforcement to work him to try and pick up scent. “He (Ryder) stayed in the area after a six-mile tracking journey around the property.”
Benedict was later discovered by RCSO investigator Wes Jones under a bale of hay and was taken into custody.
The team spends countless hours doing personal tracking training to better the canine’s abilities. Local schools are very familiar with the team since students assist in search efforts by hiding and waiting to be found.
“The kids really enjoy that part, especially after they are found,” Dye added.
RCSO Major Coy Jenkins said the SAR team has proven to be a successful resource in bringing conclusions to missing person incidents.
The SAR K-9 Unit was started in July 2015 and has been called out for more than five missing-person searches.
Any cash donations are welcomed and are tax deductible. A GoFundMe account for additional fundraising has been set up at www.gofundme.com/biscuitsfork9s.