K-9 units show off skills at career fair

Labrador retriever Nugget homes in and indicates where drugs are hidden to Customs K-9 handler Anthony Echenique.

Cayman K-9 officers showcased the skills of the Customs and Agriculture departments’ sniffer dogs to Prospect Primary School students during a career fair on May 20.

Nugget, a black Labrador retriever, and Bolt, a Belgian Malinois, from the customs K-9 unit demonstrated how they detect contraband, including drugs and guns.

Customs K-9 unit chief Malachi Powery and officers Anthony Echenique and Tate McFarlane put the canines to work on the school grounds by allowing them to sniff out drugs they had hidden.

Bolt also displayed his ability, on cue, to chase and pin down suspected criminals until other officers arrive.

Meanwhile, inside the hall, the Agriculture Department’s K-9 officer Myah, a 6-year-old beagle, demonstrated her skill at picking up the scent of produce hidden inside suitcases and other luggage.

Agriculture inspector and K-9 handler Sharon Davis, with the support of laboratory assistant Noel Smith, explained to the students and visiting Red Bay Primary students how Myah usually “checks” baggage at the airport and alerts if raw produce is entering the islands. Canines like Myah help prevent bugs and other unwanted organisms from entering the islands.

As a bonus, some of the youngsters were also able to pet the beagle.