NEW PORT RICHEY — The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office’s K-9 unit just got a little bigger, more tactically efficient — and more adorable.
The department introduced its two latest additions, a pair of bloodhound littermates from Kentucky that will eventually become single-purpose tracking K-9s. The new 11-week-old male puppies — Hemi and Shelby — double the force’s number of bloodhounds, joining Buster and Knox.
According to a news release, Hemi and Shelby will train for about 10 months before going on duty to help locate missing people, one of the most frequent calls for canines in Pasco County. Bloodhounds have heightened abilities and can track after significant delays, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The breed can also decipher between scents of multiple people, giving them the ability to track through a crowd.
Hemi is partnered with Deputy Bobby Lewis, who also handles Maddie, the department’s first live-find K-9.
Shelby is the partner of Sgt. Brian Hernandez, who also handles Doc, a narcotics detection dog.
Similar to all Pasco Sheriff’s Office K-9s, funds for the new additions were donated by community members. In this case, the donation came from Ferman Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram of New Port Richey.