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Man’s best friend helps fight arson

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In an effort to fight arson, specially-trained dogs have been added to the force.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety announced Wednesday, July 17 that the newest member of their team is a highly trained accelerant dog named Pogo.

“People who light fires in this state will see a much more visible presence of advanced crime fighting tools and technology,” said Iowa State Fire Marshal, Ray Reynolds. “Highly trained dogs capable of detecting minute traces of flammable liquids are being deployed at our fire scenes in order to stop arsonists in their tracks.”

Arson is the second leading cause of fires in Iowa, according to fire reports from 2012, and $35 million in property loss was the result of arson in 2012.

Reynolds said arson is considered a violent crime in Iowa.

Pogo was recently deployed in Mount Pleasant. State Farm Insurance Companies’ Arson Dog Program funded the purchase of Pogo. The program, which started in 1993, has placed over 300 dogs with fire and law enforcement agencies in 44 states.

“We want to help support the efforts of the Iowa Fire Marshal’s team to douse arson fires in the community and put criminals behind bars,” said State Farm Spokesperson Ann Avery. “The scope of arson goes beyond the impact on insurance companies – it affects the personal and financial well-being of us all. Training dogs to detect accelerants at fire scenes saves time and money in arson investigations.”