At first glance, Moonshine, the department's new drug detection dog, appears much like a typical family pet. The yellow lab looks like he would be at home romping in the backyard. However, Moonshine has been specially trained to sniff out methamphetamine, ecstasy, heroin, marijuana and cocaine in order to locate, and lock up, these harmful substances.
Moonshine first joined the department in October, but is in the process of easing into regular service. He joins current K9, Titan, who operates in the Corning area.
"These dogs are good dogs and will make finding these drugs easier," sheriff Gerald McClung said. "We're happy to have them."
Moonshine will be joined by deputy Cody Carter, who has been selected as handler. The two will serve as partners in the field, with Moonshine effectively joining the family.
"He goes home with me," Carter said. "It's not like I leave him at the department when I go home. We're together all the time. It's part of the whole process. I see him more than my wife," Carter added with a laugh.
Moonshine was trained by Blake Bristow of BlueStreak Kennel in Jonesboro. Bristow is both a law enforcement officer and an experienced K9 trainer who has worked with many police dogs in the state.
"He's done an outstanding job, not just for us, but for law enforcement throughout Arkansas," McClung said.
Obtaining Moonshine was made possible by donations from numerous area supporters. The department raised over $6,000 to acquire Moonshine. Titan, a three-year-old black lab, was originally purchased for the Corning Police Department. He transferred to the CCSD last year when the CPD purchased a new dog.
"This will allow us to have a dog on each side of the county," McClung said. "This is something we needed. Before, if the dog was in Corning and you needed him in Piggott, then you had to wait for them to finish what they were doing there first. Now, we've got dogs on both sides and can respond faster."