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February 24, 1998
Contact: Margaret Ainscough, (360) 902-2408

Hunting group supports wildlife K-9 program

OLYMPIA -- A Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife program that is training a dog to sniff out poachers is receiving support from an international hunting group.

Shikar Safari International, an organization of hunters who have been on safaris and other hunts abroad, will present a $7,000 check to WDFW Director Bern Shanks at 2 p.m. tomorrow at WDFW headquarters in the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. SE in Olympia.

On hand for the ceremony will be the eventual recipient of the donation Isaac, a 3-year-old German shepherd. The money will pay for Isaac's purchase, food and supplies.

Isaac is being trained by WDFW Enforcement Officer Mike Neil as a pilot project. Isaac is expected to be accredited in April by the Washington State Police K-9 Association.

Once he is fully trained, Isaac will be able to signal the presence of deer and elk meat, salmon and shellfish, even in a car trunk. Besides detection, Isaac also is being trained to track suspects and to protect his fellow officers.

"Isaac will be a big help during hunting season," said Neil.

In the meantime, Isaac is getting on-the-job training by riding with Neil on his rounds in Pierce, King and Thurston counties.