published Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Georgia’s arson-sniffing dog dies after illness

ATLANTA — Georgia’s insurance commissioner says the state’s arson-sniffing dog has died.

Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens said the dog, Smokey, died Tuesday morning following a brief illness.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reportsthat the 11-year-old Labrador retriever began his Georgia career in October 2003 and was the state’s fifth arson canine.

Hudgens said that from 2003 until his death, Smokey and his handler, Investigator Ken Palmer, were involved in more than 700 fire investigations around the state. Smokey’s specialized training allowed him to determine if accelerants were used to start a fire, which allowed investigators to make numerous arrests.

Smokey’s final assignment was March 30 following a Catoosa County house fire, which was determined to be arson.

A successor for Smokey has not yet been named.

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