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South Fayette police seek name for new bloodhound pup

| Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, 8:45 p.m.

The hunt is on in South Fayette – to name the township's police canine, that is.

The long-faced new pup is a female bloodhound, specifically chosen to provide a niche service to the area, said South Fayette police Chief John Phoennik.

“We are referring to her as a scent-tracking dog,” Phoennik said. “We chose a bloodhound because their keen sense of smell is 1,000 more sensitive than typical drug canines.”

Due to their extreme scent sensitivity, Phoennik said, bloodhounds aren't typically used during drug searches and investigations. The hound will act as a key part of tracking lost individuals – such as those with special needs, the elderly and crime suspects.

Sergeant Mike Wesolek will serve as the bloodhound's handler. During the weekend of Nov. 18, Wesolek traveled to Massachusetts, where he picked up his new canine companion from her breeder. The breeder, Wesolek said, is a bloodhound handler in his police department in Massachusetts.

“I'm really excited for this chance,” Wesolek said. “She comes from a line of dogs that has siblings all over the country. My belief is that she will be able to fill a niche as far as police dogs go.”

The pup lives with Wesolek and his family, and is “very friendly and approachable.”

In an effort to continue building a close relationship with the public, the department opted to hold a contest to name their new canine. Voting is open at through 9 a.m. Dec. 11, when Wesolek will pick the name. The name will be announced during the December township commissioners meeting.

The new addition will fill a void in the area, Phoennik said. The closest scene canine is Greensburg, he said.

“She will be able to assist not only our department, but for other departments when needed. We will also make sure she is familiar with the schools and our community.”

Christina Sheleheda is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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