Congratulations to the San Antonio Fire Department’s (SAFD) very own Arson K-9, Kai, for being named one of the eight finalists for the 2014 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards. Thanks to the public’s votes, Kai beat out over a dozen other dogs to win the “Arson Dogs” category and she must now face off against the winners of the seven other categories. Voting is now open for the final round that will determine which heroic hound will be named this year’s American Hero Dog, at the fourth annual Hero Dog Awards in California. The public is invited to submit one vote per day through September 15th at herodogawards.org/vote/?nominee=89247242.
Each of the eight finalists and their handlers will be flown to Hollywood to take part in the Hero Dog Awards gala on Saturday, September 27 where the winning 2014 American Hero Dog will be chosen. All eight finalists will win $1,500 for their chosen charity selected from the contest's list of 15 charity partners. The top winner will win an additional $5,000 for their charity partner.
Kai is the SAFD’s only Accelerant Detection Canine. She is a shelter rescue dog who has now been with the department for almost four years. Kai is a six-year-old female Black Labrador Retriever. She was caught by a dog catcher and placed in Animal Care Services in Central Illinois. Her owners forfeited her and she faced certain death when the McLean County Humane Society stepped in and rescued her. While at the facility, she was noticed for her drive and a call was made to State Farm’s Arson Dog Program. SAFD Arson Investigator Justin Davis and K-9 Kai were partnered together in July of 2010. Kai is trained to detect petroleum based hydrocarbons like gasoline and charcoal lighter fluid. She assists in investigations locally and around Bexar County by locating key evidence. K-9 Kai also educates the public about fire safety and fire investigation by making appearances and going to school demonstrations.
State Farm is the sponsor of the Arson Dog Training Program, and in addition, Kai has also received support from Generations Federal Credit Union, USAA, Nutro Natural Choice Dog Food and Lewis E. Radicke, DVM of Lincoln Heights Animal Hospital.