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K-9 unit visits Castleton

Ever think you would walk into Jeffords Auditorium, see a dog find marijuana, and then bite two students? Well it didn’t exactly happen like that, but with the police dog demonstration that the Castleton Criminal Justice club set up to raise money for their trip to Washington, it was something of the sort.

“I was scared at first,” said Ross Armell, the first student to have the k-9 latched on to his arm.

Cpl. Ed Hunter of the Vermont State Police came to campus on March 5 with his partner in defeating crime, Maxamus, a dog in the K-9 unit.

During the demonstration, Hunter went over the basic skills a police dog must have, including obedience. Hunter had commanded Maxamus to perform all that he must do and know.

Police dogs are mostly used to attack criminals, find narcotics, and for tracking people. In order for the K-9 to know what to do with these commands, they must go through a 12-week training course that includes basic obedience and attack work.

Once the training is all said and done, the dog must return twice a year to take a physical training test. If the dog does not pass, then it is no longer allowed to be on the force and must retire.

To show what Maxamus could really do, the officers hid two articles that had been soaked in the stench of marijuana. When Hunter said “drugs,” his hairy partner Maxamus went in search of drugs and found them in no time.

Shortly after, two students had volunteered to be attacked by the dog. Hunter took some time to rile the nerves of the students in attendance.

When instructed to attack, Maxamus bolted towards the student volunteer. Luckily for the student, Hunter called the dog back before it made it across to room to the student, leaving the student completely unharmed and question his choice to volunteer.

This was humorous for those who were watching. Hunter had provided protective sleeves for the student volunteers. When Maxamus finally latched on to the volunteer’s arm, no amount of arm flailing could swing the dog loose.

“It was cool as hell,” said Zack Wiessner, the second student to get bit.

Wiessner thought that this whole demonstration was entertaining, which was a nice change for him.

Hunter explained that the dog is not dangerous as long as you know how to reward him and control him. Hunter controls Maxamus is by rewarding him with his favorite toy.