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K-9 project to save lives

Scott Davis remembers the moment when Chance Smith, a missing 6-year-old in Locust, N.C., was found.
Davis was so excited. The boy had been reported missing in December 2003 after walking into the woods with his dog and not returning.
But then the bad news came.
He was dead.
This story haunts Davis daily. The boy was found only one mile from his home.
“Maybe we could have found him quicker,” Davis said.
This idea motivated him to look into a first response K-9 recovery organization in order to help reduce the search time for a child when they are reported missing or abducted.
Davis, who does marketing at Body Dynamics Racing Bodies, Inc. in Denver, has been involved with John Walsh of America’s Most Wanted and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for several years.
In fact, some of the racecars in the shop have pictures of missing children on them.
Davis hopes to start the K-9 organization here and then expand it to the southeastern region. Eventually, he hopes it will be nationwide.
“We are not wanting to cure child abductions, because that is not possible. It’s like cancer,” Davis said. “But if we can find one child then we have succeeded.”
Davis and Tim Suggs are co-founders of the organization. They are working hard getting the funding together. They hope to raise approximately $1.5 million for the first year, which will come from donations, grants, corporate contributions and state and federal appropriations.
Already, a truck sits outside with the K-9 logo on it, waiting to be used.
Many local organizations have expressed interest, including the Sheriff’s Office, Best Uniforms of Charlotte and Blauer Safety equipment of Boston, Mass. who will help with their unit members’ uniforms. Canines for Kids Inc., a non-profit group, has also agreed to help with their unit and canine training. West Virginia Signal and Light will help with response lights and Maptech will assist with GPS and mapping software.
Once everything is ready, Davis said they will set up headquarters in Denver.
The K-9 unit will be called upon in an abducted or missing child situation in order to assist law enforcement agencies.
The scent-specific canines will assist in finding children by their smell.
“There have been many proven cases that if a canine was used to track it could have saved some kid’s life,” Suggs said.
Davis and Suggs are also going to focus on visiting elementary and middle schools to talk with students on how to stay safe and what to do if they are lost.
“We want children to know that the man in the three-piece business suit, driving a BMW is still a stranger,” Davis said. “A lot of times children think that if strangers are neat and well kept, they are not strangers, but this is not always the case.”
Davis expects the program to take roughly six to 12 months to get off the ground. They expect to get two dogs for the program, but this will depend on how many volunteers step forward. The program can have as many as five teams in one county.
For more information visit www.firstresponsek9recovery.com or contact Scott Davis at 704-483-7289. by Amy Wadsworth

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