May 12, 2017
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Six New Accelerant Detection Canines to Support Fire Service and Law Enforcement Efforts Across New York

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Six New Accelerant Detection Canines to Support State Fire Service, Law Enforcement Efforts


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that six canines successfully completed an eight week Canine Accelerant Detection course at the New York State Academy of Fire Science and have new assignments supporting law enforcement and fire service investigation efforts across the state.

"These new graduates will help law enforcement and fire investigators across New York solve arson cases, bring justice to victims and identify dangerous criminals," Governor Cuomo said. "The six canines and their handlers will bring specialized skills to investigators in communities from New York City to Erie County, to help solve suspected arson cases and protect the residents of New York."

The six canines will serve the following communities:

  • “Axe,” a Labrador Retriever mix, is assigned to Erie County Sheriff’s Office Detective Scott Kuhlmey;
  • Bucca,” a Labrador Retriever mix, is assigned to New York City Fire Department Fire Marshal Joseph DiGiacomo;
  • Char,” a chocolate Labrador Retriever, is assigned to Putnam County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Scott Lombardo;
  • Roscoe,” a German Shepard , is assigned to Rockland County Sheriff’s Office Detective Dwayne Defino;
  • Walter,” a German Shepard, is assigned to Orange County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Justin Worden; and
  • Zena,” a long haired German Shepard mix, is assigned to Office of Fire Prevention and Control Investigator Kristi Geary in the Albany office.

The state received the canines through donations by private individuals, or by an animal shelter or humane society. Private individuals donated Roscoe and Zena for service. Peppertree Rescue in Albany donated Axe; Saratoga County Animal Shelter donated Bucca and Char; and the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society donated Walter. 
Each canine and their handler trained together for eight weeks at the State Academy of Fire Science in Montour Falls. The teams completed their eight week Canine Accelerant Detection course on May 12 and participated in a graduation ceremony that day.

During the eight week program, canines and their handlers learn to detect the scent of common liquids associated with possible arson. Additionally, the canines receive exposure to various environmental situations such as riding in boats, helicopters, and aerial trucks; the dogs also become familiar with large groups of people, bodies of water, elevators and escalators. The handlers learn about their partners by covering topics including canine health, behavior, nutrition, olfactory senses and emergency first aid for the dogs.

"Canine teams across the state serve in important roles protecting New Yorkers, and I am confident that these six new, highly-skilled teams will do the same," said John P. Melville, Commissioner, New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. “Canines and their partners serve the public in a variety ways including bomb detection, arson investigation, pursuit of criminals, and in search and rescue situations, and these six teams add to the state’s abilities to investigate arson crimes."

Contact the Governor's Press Office