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K9 dogs test for national recognition

Updated: Wednesday, August 20 2014, 01:30 AM CDT
CONROE - by Kara Dixon

In 2002, shortly after the September 11th terrorist attacks, Kyle Butler joined the Bureau of Arms, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives K9 explosives unit because of the need for trainers and dogs.

"We weren't really sure what was happening," said Butler.

Now, Butler and his dog R.J. travel across the country trying to keep it safe.

"You have to do everything you can do to prevent something from happening and these dogs are a vital part of what we do," Butler said.

The ATF held its National Odor Recognition Test, which is also known as NORT, for K9 units across the Houston region.

"They're the first line of defense out there against terrorism or vital case that uses explosives," said Raphael Martinez, who is the branch chief of the ATF's national K9 unit.

NORT tests the dogs on 10 different odors found in explosives. The test is voluntary, but certification carries weight.

"It gives the K9 handler and team documentation that if the unit needs to testify in court they're able to produce it and show their K9 unit is proficient on finding basic odors," Martinez said.

R.J. and Butler also cover the Beaumont area for crimes, including finding the location of guns.

"Even a skilled bomb tech could not find the things a K9 could find," Butler said.
K9 dogs test for national recognition

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