“WHAT A DOG!” Trailing Success Stories
Pursuant to a $150,000 grant from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Jimmy Ryce Center for Victims of Predatory Abduction (the Jimmy Ryce Center) has been able to place more than 50 AKC bloodhounds with local law enforcement departments in Florida.

Looking at just a few of their trailing successes makes it clear how valuable a well-trained, scent-discriminating bloodhound can be in finding abducted or lost people and catching violent felons.

Bloodhound J.R.'s Nose Saves Boy from Committing Suicide!

In September of 1998, the Jimmy Ryce Center gave a red, male bloodhound to the Brevard County Sheriff's Office--Jail in Sharpes, Florida.  It was named Jimmy Ryce's J.R.  Its handler Officer "Bear" Bright with J.R. attended the National Police Bloodhound Association/NPBA trailing training meet in November of 1999. 

In 1999, an adolescent boy was so upset by kids at school calling him a dummy that he left a note telling his teacher he was going to kill himself.  Officer Bright scented J.R. on the child's desk.  J.R. trailed the boy from his desk into the woods and nosed him to show his handler that this was the thing giving off the scent he had been started on.  When Officer Bright asked if the boy was ________, the missing boy started crying, saying "I didn't know anyone cared enough about me to come looking for me.  You just saved me from making the worst mistake of my life.  I want to go home to my mama."

For saving this child’s life, J.R. and his human partner Officer Bright  received the Florida Department of Law Enforcement/FDLE Best Trailing Team Award, at the September 1999, Florida Missing Children’s Day program in Tallahassee.    

          Bloodhound Cooper Catches Girl's Killer!

In 2000, a 14-year-old girl’s screams apparently brought her father running to her bedroom where she was being sexually assaulted.  The man turned his knife on her father and slashed him to death.  After he raped the girl, he killed her too.  

Corporal Blizzard with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office--Jail, and the red, male bloodhound Copper were immediately called to the scene.  Blizzard  had Cooper take secondary scent of the rapist off of the dead girl.  In less than 20 minutes, Cooper trailed the killer to a back yard, about 12 blocks away.  There he  caught the killer, literally red handed, as he was still washing the blood of his victims off his arms and bicycle.  Trailing the predator from the crime scene to where he was resulted in the finding of enough evidence to make an iron-clad case, sure to keep the killer locked up where he cannot hurt another child:  the blood on the man matched the victims’ blood and the semen in and on the child matched the killer's DNA.  

For successfully trailing a double murderer, Copper and his human partner Corporal Blizzard received the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Best Trailing Team Award, at  the September 11, 2000, Florida Missing Children’s Day program in Tallahassee.

      Bloodhound Andy Find Toddlers Within Minutes!

In 1999, the Jimmy Ryce Center gave the Hardee County Sheriff's Office in Wauchula, Florida, the red, male bloodhound called Jimmy Ryce's Andy.  Andy and his handler Sgt. David Drake attend yearly trailing field meets, including the 2000 meet sponsored by the Jimmy Ryce Center, the National Police Bloodhound Association/NPBA Man-Trailing School, and the International Canine Academy for Man-trailing.  

While her mother was sleeping, a 3-year-old girl wandered out of her house.  When her mother reported her missing, Sgt. Drake and bloodhound Andy were called in.  Sgt. Drake scented Andy off an unwashed shirt the child had worn.   Starting at the door area, Andy followed the child's scent trail to a van parked in the yard.  The little girl was found asleep inside the van.

A two-and-a-half-year-old boy wandered off the back porch when his mother went inside to get her shoes.  Sgt. Drake scented Andy off the child’s tricycle in the yard.  Andy trailed the child into a grove.  Andy found the child unharmed about 15 minutes later.

     Bloodhound Erica Backs Up Witness' Story!

In 2001, the Jimmy Ryce Center gave the red, female bloodhound Erica to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office in Tampa, Florida.  In 2002, Erica received the National Police Work Dog Association Expert Award for trailing successfully a scent trail 1 1/2 miles long, 4 hours old, over vegetation and hard pavement, with at least two fresher trails crossing the laid trail.

In December of 2002, handler Sgt. Mark Oliver and Erica were called in to find a girl her former boyfriend said had been abducted at gunpoint.  The boy said they had meet in the park that December day of 2002 to say good-by, as the girl was going off to college.  The boy said another young man showed up and ordered the girl to drive off with him in her car, and when the former boyfriend had tried to follow, he had shot at him. 

The boy's fishy story gained credence when Erica scented off the driver's seat of the only other car in the parking lot trailed to a shadowy area near where the couple had been talking and then trailed back to where the girl’s car had been parked.  A description of the girl's car was broadcast.  A park deputy spotted the car and saw the girl and her abductor were inside. When the abductor saw the deputy, the abductor shot himself.  The car in the lot Erica was scented on was later found to be registered to the grandfather of the guy who shot himself.

 Bloodhound Sadie Helps Catch Armed Robbers and Focuses Investigation on Killer!

In December of 2000, the Jimmy Ryce Center gave the Monrow County Sheriff's Office in Cudjoe Key, Florida, the red, female bloodhound called Jimmy Ryce's Sadie.  

Dep. Cuervo scented Sadie on a vehicle which had been abandoned by two juveniles who had robbed a jewelry store.  With two officers backing the bloodhound team up,   Sadie took only 5 minutes to trail the robbers to where they were hiding behind a building.  The jewelry and the 22 rifle used in the robbery were recovered.

In 2002, a man reported his wife missing from a Monroe County motel.  Dep. Cuervo scented Sadie off of some of the woman's clothing in the motel room.  Sadie was unable to pick up the woman's scent trail leading from the motel room or from the man’s car.  As a result of the failure to find a scent trail where it should have been had the woman ever been in the motel room or car, the husband became the focus of the investigation.  While under surveillance when he returned to Jacksonville, Florida, he led law enforcement to where he had hidden her body.  

     Bloodhound Hoover Finds Evidence and Identifies Rapists and Armed Robbers!

In January of 2000, the Jimmy Ryce Center gave the red, male bloodhound called Jimmy Ryce's Hoover to the Panama City Police Department in Panama City, Florida.  Sgt. Doug Pierce and Hoover attended the March 24-27, 2000 field meet in Sebring, which the Jimmy Ryce Center sponsored, as well as a number of NPBA meets.

In Aug of 2000, a man kicked in the door of a home for the mentally retarded and sexually assaulted a women patient, as well as her woman caretaker.  As he was running out, he snatched the phone off the wall to delay their getting help.  Arriving at the facility within 15 minutes of receiving the call, 11-month-old Hoover, scented on the telephone, found the man three blocks away.  Because the man had gone in his house and changed his clothes, Sgt. Pierce did not recognize the man from the caretaker’s description of what he was wearing.  After obtaining a search warrant, shoes found at the suspect’s home matched the footprint made when the man jumped off the porch of the home.  In 2001, Sgt. Pierce testified at trail for Hoover, after being recognized by the judge as an expert in testifying in regard to Hoover’s trailing reliability and in interpreting the meaning of Hoover’s actions.  Convicted by a jury of sexual battery on the two women, the man received not a life sentence.  

While following the trail of the man who robbed a grocery store, Hoover located the meat cleaver used in the robbery and a piece of cloth caught on a fence.  It was later matched to a torn-out hole in the pants of the suspect who had been stopped at the perimeter set up by other officers.  When the suspect was brought to the station, he with four other men were instructed to walked outward from a central point to different locations in the parking lot.  Hoover was scented on the meat cleaver and positively identified the suspect as the person whose scent was on the cleaver.  This identification was important because the suspect was masked during the holdup.  The matching fragment to the hole in the man's pants and the scent identification persudaded the defendant to pled guilty.  He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and no appeal has been made. 

In a bank robbery case, Sgt. Pierce had Hoover take scent on the bank counter as the robber was the first person in the bank that morning.  Following that scent Hoover found a cap the robber had dropped as he ran away.  Hoover later scent -dentified the guy in a lineup as the one whose scent was on the cap.  The defendant pled guilty after a video tape of Hoover’s distinguishing the scent of one of two identical twins was furnished to the defense.  The defendant had initially argued that the bank photo was of his identical twin brother who lived in Alabama and had a history of robbery.  He was given a light sentence of 5 years probation, probably due to his low mental ability.

Bloodhound Project

 Bloodhounds Best Finders of Missing Children in Imminent Danger! 

During the months we searched for Jimmy, we discovered bringing in a bloodhound immediately would probably have been Jimmy’s best shot at getting home alive, after he was abducted from his school bus stop at gun point.  To a scent-discriminating dog, Jimmy’s scent is different from all other people's scent.  When Jimmy was carried away in an old pickup truck, the passenger window was rolled down, and his scent was pouring out the window.  A well-trained bloodhound could have easily followed Jimmy’s scent trail from his school bus top to the abandoned trailer, a little less than a mile away, where he was kept alive more than four hours as he was reported missing within an hour of his being taken.  

A bloodhound the Jimmy Ryce Center for Victims of Predatory Abduction gave to the Polk County Sheriff's Office in Florida followed the scent of a little girl pouring out of a truck window down roads and highways, three-and-a-half miles, to the house where she had been taken. 

Bloodhounds are miracle dogs.  They have a million times the scent capacity of humans and 60 times that of German shepherds. They can as easily follow the scent trail of the person whose scent they are started on, as we can follow, with our eyes, footprints in wet sand.  Bloodhounds have successfully even followed the faint scent trail made from scent rafts carried out through the car ventilation system when the windows are rolled up.  

A bloodhound owned by the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office in Florida took the predator’s scent off of a raped and murdered 13-year-old girl and followed the predator’s scent trail for blocks,  right up to the man still washing her blood off his arms and bicycle.  

Jimmy Ryce would not want us to leave it to the predator’s whim whether we get our stolen children back alive or dead.  This is why the Jimmy Ryce Center for Victims of Predatory Abduction has given away, free, to law enforcement hundreds of  AKC bloodhounds.  

To continue this program and press toward the goal of a well trained bloodhound within an hour’s reach by helicopter of anywhere in the United States a child is abducted, the Jimmy Ryce Center for Victims of Predatory Abduction requests donations and grants to purchase bloodhounds to give to law enforcement to find abducted children and catch people who rape and kill kids, as well as find and jail other dangerous felons. 

We must continue to train law enforcement on how to deal with the unique crime of abduction: the immediate, intensive search for the child paralleling the investigation of the crime and elimination of suspects.  The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Alexandria, Virginia, administers the Jimmy Ryce Law Enforcement Training Center, created in 1996.  There sheriffs and police chiefs from across the country are introduced to strategies which have led to the recovery of abducted children and the catching of their rapists and killers.  

We need to make sure this and other highly effective search strategies, such as the Amber Alert and the Jimmy Ryce Bloodhound Network, are federally funded.  Bringing more abducted kids home alive requires preparation and the wise commitment of limited resources.