The newest staff members with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) might do a little begging, but it won't be for time off. The DNR announces two new K9 teams to join several others around the state. Lt. Phil Mohs and Mack (pictured in this posting) and CO Scott Staples and Fennec graduated from 17 weeks of K9 school at the end of May.

Mohs/Mack are stationed in the Twin Cities Metro. Staples/Fennec will operate out of Carlton in Northern Minnesota. That makes about six K9 units in the state.

Rodmen Smith, director of the DNR Enforcement Division, says, "The dogs have innate abilities - an extremely powerful sense of smell, for example - but it's really the dedication of their handlers and the intense, ongoing training that make them critical tools for conservation law enforcement. Our K9 teams have been instrumental in solving poaching cases, have helped to slow the spread of aquatic species, and have saved the lives of people who've been lost in the wilderness."

The news release from the MN DNR says the dogs "can sniff out fish and game, and have the ability to locate firearms and spent ammunition. Three of the dogs, including Mack, also are trained to smell zebra mussels...Mohs, who coordinates the K9 unit, is a former dog handler in the Army."

The other K9 units include CO Hannah Mishler/Storm stationed in Bemidji, CO Luke Gutzwiller/Earl working out of Redwood Falls, Water Resources Officer Julie Siems/Brady and CO Mike Fairbanks/Si stationed in Deer River.

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