by Cori Hilsgen
Bloodhound dogs, such as one named Aspen, are known for their reputation of tracking scents to assist in locating people.
Aspen, a Stearns County Sheriff’s Department purebred bloodhound, recently received training with the Federal Bureau of Investigation at one of its facilities located in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
She is Eric Schultz’s first K-9 partner. Schultz, who is a senior sheriff’s deputy, has worked with the Stearns County department for 10 years.
Aspen and Schultz attended a week of training that included classroom and field work. During that training, both were assessed on their working abilities and running training scenarios.
Bloodhounds work off human scent, and each person’s scent is different. They are a scent-discriminating K-9 and are usually used with criminal cases. Bloodhounds have been known to track scent that can be several days old.
“A bloodhound program is a huge asset to the citizens of Stearns County and has endless possibilities,” Schultz said. “(Bloodhounds) can help locate missing children/adults, along with assisting with criminal investigations by linking a suspect to the scene of a crime or linking multiple crimes together.”
Schultz said because Stearns County has the only two law-enforcement canines in Minnesota, they have been called on to assist several agencies throughout the state.
Aspen has already assisted with several criminal and missing-persons cases. Her oldest track was a four-day-old case of a missing person in Minneapolis, where she assisted with locating a direction of travel and the location of the missing person.
Aspen came from the Kody Snodgrass Memorial Foundation, doing business as 832 K-9’s Deputy Dogs, and was trained in Florida. Snodgrass was a deputy sheriff in Florida before he died after an off-duty motorcycle accident.
Snodgrass was a K-9 handler who worked with bloodhounds. His parents started the nonprofit organization to honor their son and to breed, raise and train bloodhounds for law-enforcement agencies. They also provide training for the new handlers to create an effective team who can help locate missing persons, suspects and more.
The FBI is seeking bloodhound teams around the country who can partner with them when needed to help in criminal cases. The FBI has used bloodhounds from the Kody Snodgrass Memorial Foundation 832 K-9’s Deputy Dogs to assist with solving high-profile crimes.
“Without foundations like 832 K-9’s Deputy Dogs (Kody Snodgrass Memorial Foundation), we wouldn’t have these important and critical tools in the hands of law enforcement,” Schultz said. “The foundation has been committed since the day our office received our bloodhounds to ensure a successful bloodhound program.”
The organization has placed more than 210 bloodhounds across the United States and Australia. Deputy Snodgrass’s badge number was 0832, which is now incorporated with each bloodhound and the foundations name (832 K-9’s Deputy Dogs, and Aspen’s full name is 832 Aspen Colorado).
Author: Cori Hilsgen
Hilsgen is a contributing reporter for the Newsleaders. The central Minnesota native is a wife, mother and grandmother. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management and Communication from Concordia University – St. Paul, MN and enjoys learning about and sharing other people’s stories through the pages of the Newsleaders.