Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bloodhounds for ACriminal-9

Animal Anecdotes 9.

At one point in my younger days my father had interested himself in studying and training Bloodhounds. Before the days of the auto Bloodhounds were used regularly in some areas to fight crime as with family feuds in Arkansas and elsewhere. At one time we had what may have been the largest kennel of Bloodhounds anywhere in our White Isle Kennels of over 100 of them. I was a good age to do my part in the training about which I’ll write for another Anecdote one day.

My father was well known from writing about and using them to locate lost people. Knowing their availability when an escaped criminal was seen the police wondered if the bloodhounds could locate him. The State Commissioner of Police of Connecticut no less phoned my father for help. Dad told him he had to refuse since he had a wife and two children but the Commissioner persisted and with a small army came to our house to help conduct Dad and two hounds to the scene where the criminal had last been seen. The small convoy of police left with Dad and the dogs with sirens blaring. You may be assured his 10 year old son was impressed.

About the case, the criminal had been in custody for murder and had escaped the police. In a car trying to recapture him, he was seen walking by two police on a country road.

With a gunny sack over a stick while walking, seeing the police stop ahead of him he brought out the stick that was really a Winchester 30-30 caliber rifle and shot twice at the police who had bent over exiting their car so the bullets missed.

It was in the early days of his trailing with dogs and my Dad had always used a double couple for the two dogs and believe me, one Bloodhound on a fresh track is difficult to manage so from early on he and the dogs were out of sight of the police who were armed with shotguns and rifles for any emergency. When those wonderful gentle hounds get close to the person being trailed they exhibit a change of attitude the handler becomes cognizant of and my father held the dogs back to await the police. There were no police within shouting distance and Dad switched the leashes from the dogs’ harnesses to their collars that marked the end of the trail for both handler and dogs.

The criminal had been caught by leaving burglar tools on a bus and when he checked the bus lost and found department a plain clothes policeman watching caught him. He told of having seen the dogs coming and he had the sights of his gun on one dog but didn’t fire because he feared the second dog would get him.

Next will be a lesson in how to find homes for unwanted kittens.

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