Summer is coming up and it's the launching of a new canine unit for the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Protection Branch. Stationed around the state and used as necessary to work throughout Missouri, the new unit, will be made up of five dogs and their conservation agent-handlers.

Conservation-related work is where the canines are used extensively but they'll also be used for other common issues like tracking, evidence recovery, search and rescue, wildlife detection, and public outreach programs. Currently, 36 other states are using dogs in their conservation efforts.

The five dogs that were chosen for the program includes three Labrador Retrievers and two German Shorthaired Pointers. Retriever-style dog breeds were specifically purchased for the MDC program.

According to an article from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC):

The dogs will be used for a variety of enforcement investigations, such as evidence recovery and wildlife trafficking. They will also be used in public outreach programs at fairs and schools.

The MDC released the names of the conservation agent/handler and their dog, and where they would be located:

  • Susan Swem and Lab, Astro, stationed in the southwest region
  • Justin Pyburn and Lab, Korra, stationed in the Kansas City region
  • Agent Caleb Pryor and Pointer, Zara, stationed in the northwest region
  • Don Clever and Lab, Penny, stationed in the northeast region
  • Alan Lamb and Pointer, Tex, stationed in the southeast region

MDC has partnered with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, which has its own canine training program, to provide certified canine training services.

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