MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- The Alabama Forestry Commission has welcomed a new member to its law enforcement team -- a 12-week-old bloodhound puppy that will be trained to help wildfire arson investigators.
The commission said Thursday it recently purchased the pup, named Blaze, to reduce the number of arson cases in the state. During the past four years, 42 percent of all wildfires have been declared arson-related.
State Forester Linda Casey says she believes starting a bloodhound program will increase the commission's effectiveness in finding woods arsonists. Blaze and his handler will begin training at the National Police Bloodhound Association's winter event in South Carolina this December. He is expected begin work for the commission within six to eight months.
Blaze will also help locate lost or missing persons and in education programs for children.