Five police service dogs and their warden handlers have graduated from the Department of Fish and Games (DFG) K-9 Academy this summer. The DFG now has twenty K-9 teams deployed in counties throughout the state to help stop poaching and other criminal activities that harm California’s diverse habitats, species, and resources.

“From finding expended ammunition casings to abalone, fish, deer and suspects, these K-9 teams have added a new dimension to our efforts to enforce the law and protect our state’s natural resources,” said DFG Law Enforcement Chief Nancy Foley.

The teams have been trained to detect scents including bear, deer, lobster, abalone and firearms. Additionally, all DFG dogs are trained to search vessels for Quagga and Zebra mussels, the small invasive fresh water mussels that could seriously threaten California environment and economy.  

DFG police service dogs are also trained to locate people, protect officers and apprehend suspects, making them especially useful in rural patrol areas where wardens may have no backup.

The new teams add patrol coverage to Del Norte, Siskiyou, Humboldt, Trinity, Tulare’, Kings, Fresno, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange and Los Angeles counties, in addition to the other 35 counties where wardens already have K-9 support.

This is the fourth K-9 academy that DFG has operated since January 2008 and the first to be completed in Southern California.

DFG’s K-9 Program is funded largely through private donations; organizations, agencies and individuals can sponsor or donate funds to support a K-9 unit. All donations are tax deductible. For more information, visit