Montana

Jan 22, 2013 9:27 PM by Beth Beechie - MTN News

Montana losing only "fire dog" after official's retirement

GREAT FALLS - Less than a year after Yancy, the only trained arson dog in Montana, arrived in Great Falls, she now has to go back to Maine.

Doug Bennyhoff, who announced his retirement last week as the Great Falls Fire Marshal, was the only person trained to work with Yancy.

Bennyhoff's announcement came just days after he was charged in connection with the September death of Orville Jones.

Now, the city tells MTN News that the golden lab will not stay in Montana.

Logistics of how the dog will make it back to Maine have yet to be determined, but city staff expect to work out those details within the next few days.

State Farm awarded Great Falls Fire Rescue a $45,000 grant to pay for Yancy and her training.

Bennyhoff and Yancy spent a month training in Maine last spring, forming a unique bond that trainers say can not be replicated with another person if the original human can no longer be paired with the dog.

The Arson Dog website states:

Arson dogs are trained to sniff out minute traces of accelerants (gasoline, lighter fluid, etc.) that may have been used to start a fire. Each arson dog works and lives with their handler, a law enforcement officer or firefighter trained to investigate fire scenes. The canines and handlers are required to complete four weeks of training in Maine, training every day during those four weeks.

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