EL DORADO COUNTY (CBS13) — A new employee is helping firefighters investigate arsons in El Dorado County, and this pup has a nose for sniffing out crime.

Percy, a 2-year-old lab mix, works for the El Dorado County Fire Protection District searching for signs of arson.

“She’ll search through fire debris and then indicating if there’s any accelerants that are present in that area,” said Percy’s handler, Capt. Brandon McKay.

Some fire departments have working dogs to search for people in the aftermath of a fire, but having a canine who can sniff out things like gasoline and lighter fluid is rare.

“She can pretty much clear rooms in five minutes, 10 minutes,” McKay said.

That’s work that can take a team of investigators hours to do.

McKay worked for a year researching arson dogs before the county raised $5,000 to buy Percy.

Percy wasn’t born and bred to do this. She was rescued by a trainer who gets dogs from shelters. She was originally trained as a narcotics-detection dog, which will come in handy with the rise in hash-oil explosions.

“She’ll pick up, obviously the marijuana that’s being used, and also any accelerant that’s being used to cook it with,” McKay said.

The county is hoping to raise more money for Percy’s vet costs and equipment including harnesses, vests and a pet cage.

She’s been on the job for a couple of weeks and has cleared a few scenes so far. McKay looks forward to her sniffing out her first arson.

“I think it will be pretty exciting, pretty rewarding for both of us,” he said.


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