New Sheriff’s Posse bloodhound arrives

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sheriff Dennis Meeks gets acquainted with Solo, the county’s new tracking dog. Also shown is handler Colin Baessler.

He’s on the scent – or will be as soon as the need arises, said Joe Barton, Sheriff’s Posse member Tuesday, as the county took possession of Solo, the new tracking dog.

Solo, a purebred bloodhound, and his handlers from the Huntsville-based Sleuth Hound LLC, provided a demonstration of Solo’s abilities to a crowd of more than 25.

Colin Baessler of Sleuth Hound LLC described Solo’s abilities as “scent driven.” She said the animal works by tracking a person’s individual scent.

“The lotions, potions and bacteria on our skins mix together to make a unique and individual scent,” she said. “Solo works by taking an item, say toothbrush or shoes or clothes, getting the scent and tracking it.”

Baessler said if items are not readily available, cotton balls are placed on a seat or item known to have been touched by the person.

“Let it rest for 15 minutes, and you’ve got a scent,” she said.

Solo was purchased through a countywide fundraising campaign, with contributions totaling more than $8,000 – all of which were needed to purchase the animal.

Chad Clark, a posse member, is the dog’s local handler. Clark said the county has been without a tracking animal following the death of “Tracker” two years ago.

“This animal is a tremendous asset to the county,” Clark said. “It’s all about a quick response when someone is missing or a crime needs to be solved. This animal will allow us to do that.

“The Posse is a volunteer organization,” he said. “And without the donations from everyone in the community, we couldn’t have (purchased the dog.)”