California Department of Fish and Wildlife Adds Five New K-9 Wildlife Officer Teams

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Law Enforcement Division recently certified five new K-9s and their handlers. These teams completed the extensive law enforcement K-9 training academy over the past few months in Tehama County.

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Four of the teams are handlers and dogs that are both new to CDFW’s K-9 program, while the fifth team is veteran wildlife officer and handler Brian Boyd and his new K-9 “Champ.” Boyd and his previous and soon to be retired K-9 “Phebe” were both featured extensively on the National Geographic TV show Wild Justice.

“The value of K-9s is greatly recognized in their ability to use scent to locate evidence, especially items that have been intentionally concealed,” said CDFW Assistant Chief Christy Wurster who leads the K-9 program. “These dogs can locate evidence in a fraction of the time it would take officers. Our dogs have proven to be a significant deterrent to suspect resistance, reducing assaults on our officers. This alone makes them an immeasurable asset.”

All five teams are certified to track and locate people and detect certain odors and evidence. Depending upon their assigned work locations, individual teams are trained to detect numerous items including bear, deer, abalone, invasive quagga mussels and firearms, at a minimum. Four of the new K-9 teams are also certified to protect officers and apprehend suspects.

The K-9 teams have proven invaluable to CDFW’s Law Enforcement Division. Studies show that one well-trained dog can save approximately 800 personnel hours per year, which greatly boosts the wildlife officer’s efficiency and effectiveness. Some estimates place the scenting capabilities of a dog at up to 1 million times greater than a human, which allows them to quickly find concealed evidence and items.

The five new teams include:  Warden Aaron Galwey and K-9 “Rango” (Shasta County), Warden Brian Patrick and K-9 “Karma” (Sacramento County), Warden Timothy Bolla and K-9 “Luna” (Yolo County), Warden Nick Buckler and K-9 “Indy” (Lassen County), and Warden Brian Boyd and K-9 “Champ” (Shasta County).

CDFW’s K-9 program has functioned in its current capacity consistently since 2008 with 10 working teams in the field. These five new teams will strengthen the value of the program and assure its viability for years to come.

For more information about CDFW K-9 program please visit

Media Contacts:
Lt. Chris Stoots, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-9982