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LA State Fire Marshal's Office gets new arson dog

Photo provided by staff.

POSTED: Thursday, June 26, 2014 - 4:41pm

UPDATED: Friday, June 27, 2014 - 12:03pm

The State Fire Marshal said Louisiana has a problem with arson. This year alone, they've handled more than 900 arson cases, but fire investigators can only do so much. They need extra eyes, ears, and "noses."

Every day here in Louisiana, someone sets a house on fire on purpose.

"We don't tolerate arsons in the state of Louisiana," said Louisiana State Fire Marshal Butch Browning.

That's why the State Fire Marshal's Office is bringing a new secret weapon.

Meet Billy! Billy is a 2-year-old. He's Golden Retriever/Lab mix, and he just completed his training.

"It's a great day for us. We operate these canines across the state," Browning said. "It is one of the most important assets to a major fire loss to determine if in fact, chemicals were used to set this fire."

Because if the dog finds a chemical, it's probably arson.

"Those canines find things that in many cases conventional means will not find. They will find the smallest case of a chemical accelerant we can recover, and it may be buried 10-feet in debris and they can find it," Browning said.

"Billy's a great working dog. When he gets on a fire scene he hit on accelerants and try to catch the arsons that are happening in our state and try to bring them to justice," said Roman Ray, Billy's handler.

Ray said Billy isn't just his companion. He's a part of his family.

"He's sleeping right beside my bed at night. He's a pet, but a tool. You have to separated the two, but when it's time to work. It's work time," Ray said.

Ray is also new to the fire marshal team and working with dogs like Billy is what he's always wanted to do.

"I came here, and they had a K-9 spot available. I put in an application, and I was very blessed to be the one that was drawn to accept the K-9," Ray said.

Ray said they have a lot of work ahead of them, and it's just the beginning.

"He has many years to go, but one day he'll retire and hopefully he'll be able to stay home with me and live out the rest of his life. He's going to be with me until the end," Ray said.

Billy is one of 12 dogs on our state canine arsenal team.

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