Canines Find Second Career as Arson Dogs
Two of Nine in Florida Stationed in Lake Wales
Last updated 6/9/2021 at 11:03am
Arson is one of the most expensive property claims in the United States. Each year billions of dollars in property damage and hundreds of lives are lost as a result of fires set by arsonists.
For 38 years State Farm Insurance has been training arson dog teams to locate potential evidence of arson following a fire. The dog alerts the handler, usually a firefighter or law enforcement official, to the specific location of an accelerant (gasoline, oil, fuel) and the handler collects the evidence for laboratory confirmation. This evidence is vital to an arson investigation and in the prosecution of this deadly crime.
The majority of canines in the State Farm Arson Dog Program are obtained from animal shelters, rescue organizations, or certified companion programs. Two of the arson dog teams - Paul Snider and K9 Buffet and Jeff Batz and K9 Booker - are stationed in Lake Wales through the Florida Office of the State Fire Marshal.
Many of the dogs are "career change" or "second career" canines, meaning that these dogs were raised to be a disability assistance or guide dog but didn't complete their training because the dog was too energetic. These dogs are given a second chance to serve by training as an accelerant detection canine.
Since 1983, the State Farm Arson Dog Program has trained and placed more than 425 dogs and their partners in 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian province to help investigate suspicious fires.
Florida has the second most arson dog teams (9) in the country, just one team behind Illinois (10 teams). These teams completed their annual recertification June 3. Meet the Florida Arson Dogs and where they serve:
1. Cody McIntyre and K9 Rico – Florida Office of the State Fire Marshal (Tallahassee, FL)
2. Ross Holt and K9 Icy – Florida Office of the State Fire Marshal's (Plantation, FL)
3. Matt Huffman and K9 Shay-Ley – Florida Office of the State Fire Marshal (Jacksonville, FL)
4. David Young and K9 Fresca – Florida Office of the State Fire Marshal (Jacksonville, FL)
5. Paul Snider and K9 Buffett - Florida Office of the State Fire Marshal (Lake Wales, FL)
6. Jeff Batz and K9 Booker – Florida Office of the State Fire Marshal (Lake Wales, FL)
7. Daniel Koehler and K9 Ruthie - Florida Office of the State Fire Marshal (Daytona Beach, FL)
8. Joe Cox and K9 Camy – St. Lucie County Fire (Port St. Lucie, FL)
9. Jason Revoldt and K9 Nessie – Orlando Fire Department (Orlando, FL)
The two newest Florida Arson dogs are K-9 Buffet in Lake Wales and K-9 Ruthie in Daytona Beach.