Charlotte County K9, handler recognized for life-saving finds
CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. – This dynamic duo with the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office is being recognized as masters of their trade.
Deputy First Class Steven Sella and K9 Copper are the go-tos if you go missing in Charlotte County.
“K9 Copper, I’ve had him for a year and three months now,” Sella said. “This is like my kid.”
In those 15 months, the pair has saved numerous lives with their tracking skills. Sella said it doesn’t take much to teach Copper the tricks of the trade.
“So a dog’s ability to smell odors is a natural thing to track it,” Sella said. “That’s a natural thing when they’re born.”
Sella is being recognized as a Master Handler because of the life-saving finds he and Copper have achieved. Just this year, they’ve found a woman with dementia, a suicidal man, and a suicidal child.
“We tracked, and tracked, and tracked,” Sella said. “We did a big loop, he had actually gone back to the girlfriend’s house, he had snuck in through the window and was hiding inside actually armed with a knife at the time when we found him.”
Three or more times a week they’re on the search, and they never know what they’re up against.
“We don’t know what mental state they’re in,” Sella said. “We don’t know if they have any weapons. We don’t know what they’re going through.”
K9 Copper is expected to receive a bullet and stab protective vest within the next eight to 10 weeks, CCSO said. The vest is on the way thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.
His vest will be sponsored by the National Police Association and will be embroidered with the sentiment “This gift of protection provided by National Police.org.”
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