The truck for the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office’s search-and-rescue bloodhound was unveiled at a Wednesday ceremony at the Floyd County Jail.
“We just wanted to make sure we had a ceremony to thank everyone involved,” said Sheriff Tim Burk halter. “Through donations, we were able to get a very nice truck for Snickers.”
The truck and its fixtures were paid for by donations from Heritage First Bank, Heritage Auto Group, State Mutual Insurance Company, Country Sportsman of Rome and Williams Communications.
The Nissan Titan 4X4 is outfitted with blue strobe lights and a toolbox. A steel box for Snickers that was in the truck Wednesday is a prototype that will be replaced, said the dog’s handler, Deputy Mike Williams, Snickers’ handler.
“The actual box for Snickers will match the tool box and should be here around Feb. 4,” Burkhalter explained.
The total cost of the truck was $27,000, all paid for by donations.
“We have used all the donations to buy and outfit the truck,” said Williams. “It is a very nice vehicle and it is perfect for Snickers.”
The heavy-duty 4-wheel-drive truck is a welcome addition to the agency’s fleet of vehicles, Burk halter said.
“We usually have to search in some very unappealing places. This is going to make it easier for us to get Snickers where he needs to be. Actually, sometimes I feel like I need that truck more than he does,” the sheriff said with a laugh.
The truck also comes with a winch attached to the front, in case there’s a need to get something out of a sticky situation.
“Somebody always gets stuck in these searches,” said Burkhalter. “We are also working on getting a camera for the truck.”
Snickers may need the truck for long-distance travel, because he has established a reputation for his ability to sniff out things, officials said.
“He was recently deployed to South Carolina to find someone,” said Burkhalter. “He’s getting a reputation outside of Floyd County as a champion search-and-rescue dog. He is always here if we need him.”
Snickers has become a real part of the family at the sheriff’s office, said Deputy Jimmy Allred, who handles Champ and Duke, the agency’s drug dogs.
“He is a great dog, and he and Mike make a great team,” Allred said. “It has been very impressive to see how they work together. We handlers work together with our dogs as a team and a handler has to have a lot of love for a dog and the dog has to love his handler.”
Burkhalter said the dogs are specially trained for the type of work they do, and adding Snickers to his crew has enhanced the agency’s effectiveness.
“When I would be out on searches before we got Snickers and I would see the search-and-rescue dogs coming, it was like seeing the cavalry come to the rescue,” he said.