The State Fire Marshal’s Office plans to unveil its newest K-9 on Wednesday, but the dog has already been at work sniffing out accelerants for about a month.
The office was able to get Pogo, a female Yellow Lab, through a program funded by State Farm Insurance. Pogo’s handler is Special Agent Jeff Shatzer.
State Fire Marshal Ray Reynolds says a sharp increase in arson cases in Iowa, which were responsible for $35 million in property damage in 2012, has the office planning to take a more aggressive approach to arson investigation. The office plans to apply for three more accelerant detecting dogs through the State Farm program and should they be approved, the dogs would begin training in the spring.
Currently, Iowa has only one other accelerant detecting dog. Rocket, out of Council Bluffs, is 13-years-old.
Pogo and her handler will do a demonstration on accelerant detection Wednesday morning at 11:00 a.m. at the Oran Paper Public Safety Building in Des Moines. It’s located at 215 E. 7th Street.