Police dogs show skills at trials in Grays Ferry

GRAYS FERRY (WPVI) -- They are the best trained police dogs in the country and they came to Philadelphia to show their stuff.

It's all part of this year's US Police Canine Association National Detector Dog Trials taking place at Penn Vet Working Dog Center in Grays Ferry.

The regional chapter, Penn Vet, and Penn Police Department are hosting.

The 51 teams this week have all qualified from their regions around the country.

Their scores allowed them to come here for their national certification.

"It's huge, it's huge for us, it's huge for Philadelphia. People work really hard to get here and to qualify to be here; it's a really good thing," Anne Marie DeAngelo, K9 Training Director at Penn Vet, said.

This week, it's all detector dogs with specific skills in narcotics, explosives, or cadavers, searching vehicles and buildings.

There are no arson dogs here this year.

Judges from around the country surveyed these teams as they searched for narcotics; the handlers have to understand the signs their dogs give them.

"Some passive dogs will sit or lay. [This dog] is aggressive. He will scratch, bite or lick at the source," Trevor Keller of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office said.

Brian Schreiber of the Montgomery Township Police Department's dog was a bit different.

"He gets frantic searching for it and as soon as he gets the closest to it, he will literally come to a complete pause and sit, and freeze like a statue," Schreiber said.

For these teams, earning this certification is prestigious, but this distinction also serves several other very important purposes.

"Especially for a narcotics dog in court, it's important that they're certified by an outside organization, not just their trainer or department," USPCA Region 6 president Larry Love said.

"Day to day, this just tells me, when I'm out on the street working, I know I can 100% rely on him, he's certified. he knows what he's doing," Schreiber said.

The teams will be back for another day Tuesday.
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