by ThatWasClose on 14 July 2020 - 12:07
by emoryg on 14 July 2020 - 14:07
I think I read where kudzu was an ornamental plant. My @$$ it is. It may start off as a cute little plant in a flower bed, but in no time it’s taking the environment hostage.
Trying to operate with a dog in it is usually a disaster. In open fields it will blanket spread with a canopy of 3-4 feet. So your dog is working below the thick canopy while you’re looking above it. Article searches almost always require throwing out a naked dog. Any equipment he wears will quickly get him tangled up. Tracking is a nightmare on so many levels. You can’t see the dog, so from a bite standpoint, it’s just waiting to happen. I don’t care how many thousands of tracks you ran, or hundreds or criminals you caught, when working in this stuff your dog can be on the bite and the only notice you get is the suspect screaming. If you’re lucky, an aviation unit is assigned to the call and if the temps are good, he can clear ahead of you. Even that’s not an absolute. The tracking line is constantly getting grabbed from vines at every direction. I was tethered with leather, 33 feet worth, which is less prone to tangles and very forgiving if it happens. Still, you constantly have to free up your line. I have been on calls as a back-up with handlers running nylon. It’s horrible in that environment. End up spending more time cutting your tracking line free than looking for bad guys.
A few calls that stick out with kudzu.
An officer gives chase after a suspect and they run through a patch of it. He lost his patrol car keys and his ASP baton. Took the dog over 30 minutes to find them in an area no bigger than a football field.
I went to help another jurisdiction look for two guys who did the bush bond after a traffic stop. After a short track through the woods, we negotiate an old fence and start out into a kudzu patch. I tracked tight, but even at less than ten feet, I cant see the dog. I abruptly run into something. Its an old rusty car. Ends up we’re out in an abandoned junk yard. Had no idea because they were enveloped by kudzu. With just misdemeanors charges, I end up abandoning the track.
Another out of jurisdiction call for a guy who had supposedly exchanged gunshots with the police. The dog is given all 33 feet to work. The farther away from me the more effective he is. Plus, the more distance I have to react to the suspect the better. We enter into a kudzu patch, so I immediately lose eye contact. A short time later, I’m now his anchor and I can barely move forward. I hear a splash, then a blood curling scream. It's almost impossible to get to the dog and water is not a good place for him. Fortunately, just before we entered the kudzu we passed a trail and I was able to see the creek. So I back track to the trail. Took me a few extra, heart pounding seconds to get to the dog. Ends up, it’s not even the guy I was suppose to be looking for.
Here’s a news clip from that last incident.
If you skip to 1:40 you can see yours truly photo bomb the video from the right. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3ldNBFGrEA&t=1s