Early on Sunday morning, the phone rang loudly at Deputy Chance’s house.
Still in his LCSO pajamas, Deputy Chance yawned and answered the phone. “Uncle Chance, Uncle Chance,” the caller shouted happily. “I’ve decided to move down to Florida!”
The voice was very familiar. It was Deputy Chance’s niece, an 8-week-old Bloodhound.
“That’s wonderful,” replied Chance. “Do you have a job here in Lee County?”
“Well,” responded the Bloodhound. “That’s why I’m calling. I heard that you have become quite the big-dog at the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. I see your picture all over the news and on Facebook. I was kinda hoping that you could get me a job. I’m a Bloodhound, ya know!”
Chance realized that fame had its cost. Last week, his uncle called asking to borrow money. Now, this. “Let me see what I can do for you,” Deputy Chance replied.
After a quick goodbye, Deputy Chance began to think… With an estimated 230 million olfactory cells…40 times the number found in humans…the Bloodhound has the ability to track human scent over incredible distances and, often, days after the scent was left.
The human olfactory center is the approximate size of a postage stamp; the Bloodhound’s is the size of a handkerchief. Humans shed approximately 40,000 skin “rafts” per minute. These rafts are made up of skin cells, hygiene products, bacteria, fungus, parasites, sweat, hormones, and enzymes.
Having a remarkable ability to sniff an article, read terrain and follow the scent of skin rafts, the Bloodhound’s abilities make their tracking results admissible in court. Once the Bloodhound identifies the trail, it will not divert its attention despite other scents and odors. It is only when the dog locates the source of the scent, or when it reaches a point at which it is unable to continue, will it stop tracking. Bloodhounds have been known to stick to a trail for more than 130 miles.
Don and Claudine Ryce established the Jimmy Ryce Center following the 1995 abduction and murder of their 9-year-old son, Jimmy. The center raises awareness about predatory abduction, missing children and victim’s rights.
Additionally, the Jimmy Ryce Center donates Bloodhounds to law enforcement agencies throughout the United States. To date, they have donated hundreds of these remarkable sniffers.
“A Bloodhound has 60 times the scent power of a German Shepherd and is the only dog that can follow a human trail more than a few hours old,” stated Don and Claudine Ryce. “A Bloodhound is your best single bet for bringing a child, abducted by a predator, home, alive. We believe that Jimmy would be alive today if a Bloodhound had immediately been brought in to search for our son.”
With the sincerest thanks, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office has accepted an 8-week-old Bloodhound from the Jimmy Ryce Center! With a recommendation from her Uncle Chance, she will begin her training and, likely, will be ready to begin working within eight months.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office is confident that this new Bloodhound, who will now be part of the “Deputy Dogs” program, will be enormously helpful in the search for missing children and adults.