Hound's sniffer put to rest

January 18, 1998

by Richard T. Meagher / staff photographer

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Staff Writer

An incurable back ailment has sidelined the Washington County Sheriff's Department's first and only bloodhound.

Shaver's Creek Abbie has gone home to live with her partner, Deputy 1st Class Dan Faith, who says Abbie always will be more than just a family pet.

"When she started in 1990, it was a trial program since she was the first hound with the sheriff's department," Faith said. "And she certainly proved her worth."


Abbie began her work on Aug. 3, 1990, at the age of 31/2 months. Her first unassisted find was in September 1991, when she found a juvenile runaway who was hiding in a clump of honeysuckle on Hopewell Road, Faith said.

Abbie picked up her oldest trail last February when she was searching for a suicidal missing person. Faith said the trail was nearly five days old and while she didn't find the man, who later was in Frederick, Md., she found some of his belongings at a site where the man had camped.

In August 1993, Abbie trailed a man who fled from a car that police were chasing.

"While we were tracking the driver, the owner of the car called police and reported his car was stolen," Faith said.

Abbie's talents led her to the owner's residence, alerting police to the fact that the owner was the driver for whom they were looking, Faith said.

A search west of Clear Spring in April 1995 put Abbie on the trail of a suspect who had been pepper-sprayed by police earlier.

Abbie found the man in a stream, trying to use the water to ease the pain of the pepper spray, Faith said.

Her last "find" came in July 1997, when she found a man who was wanted by Maryland State Police.

The suspect, who was seen at a party in Hancock, was found within 20 minutes, thanks to Abbie's nose.

Faith said he hears a lot of comments from people who wonder why he would want to spend his day riding around Washington County with a "stinkin' dog" in his cruiser.

"My only comment to them would be, obviously they've never experienced the ultimate high of your hound locating the person no one else could find," Faith said.

Over the years, Abbie received many awards and assisted police agencies in three states and a number of counties.

Abbie's back problem stems from a pinched nerve, making her unable to go on long searches, Faith said. The condition is called spondylitis.

"I will be getting another dog, a hound, hopefully by way of a donation," Faith said.

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