Sixteen-month-old bloodhound Annie was officially welcomed to the Honolulu Police Department yesterday as its first "scent-discriminating dog." The dog can differentiate between scents and track a specific person. Annie played with Hund-Stern Kennels owner Mike Craig. Hund'stern Kennels is based in Burlington, N.C.

Annie will help HPD
track down missing children

The Honolulu Police Department has unleashed its newest addition, a canine from North Carolina who has a nose for the job.

Annie, a 16-month-old bloodhound, was officially welcomed yesterday as the department's first "scent-discriminating dog." Her trainers explained that unlike the Belgian Malinois, used by HPD's canine detail handlers, bloodhounds can differentiate between scents and track a specific person, instead of just any human being.

"We took her up to Aiea Loop Trail, and four out of the four times we tested her out she was right on the money," said HPD canine handler John Hall, who along with fellow officer Lambert Ohia spent 10 days in Burlington, N.C., learning how to work with Annie. "She did real good ... almost dragged me over a steep incline, she found one guy so fast."

Aiea Loop Trail, also known as Keaiwa Heiau State Park, was where police found the body of 11-year-old Kahealani Indreginal last December. She had been abducted and murdered. Police and rescuers had searched the Aiea and Pearl City areas for several days before Indreginal's body was discovered.

As for more recent cases, Police Chief Lee Donohue said he thinks that Annie could have helped police locate 75-year-old Helen Hun, whose body was found a half mile from her Maili home over the weekend. Hun was reported missing Nov. 3. (See story, Page A6.)

HPD said Annie could be used in a variety of cases -- including escaped inmates and missing elderly persons -- but the dog, estimated to cost between $7,000 and $9,000, was donated with a specific task in mind: to help find missing children.

"Having been the mother whose children were abducted, I know how important it is to feel that everything possible is being done to find your children when they go missing," said Sharon Martinez of the Hawaii Missing Children's Clearinghouse Advisory Board.

Because the Clearinghouse receives federal funding to help pay for some of Annie's equipment -- including a scent machine worth thousands of dollars -- the dog was donated to Martinez's organization before it turned over Annie's leash to HPD.

Annie is the second dog to be donated to a law enforcement agency by Canines for Kids Inc., a nonprofit organization set up by North Carolina dog trainer Mike Craig, owner of Hund-Stern Kennels. Craig was on hand for Annie's welcoming ceremony yesterday and said he hopes that one day the bloodhounds that he donates will help save lives.

"A half a mile is nothing for these dogs," said Craig, referring to the Hun case. "Too many people die needlessly, because they're not found fast enough."

"If we put 50 dogs out in the next 10 years and those dogs save even one person then it's worth every bit of time and effort we put into it."


E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2003 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --