01/07/10 — Pitt County hunts for lost drug-sniffing dog

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Pitt County hunts for lost drug-sniffing dog

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on January 7, 2010 1:46 PM

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A 3-year-old black Labrador retriever went missing Friday in the Mar Mac area, but the runaway pooch is no ordinary family pet.

Felix, a working search dog from the Pitt County Sheriff's Office K9 unit, escaped last week. The dog was being cared for by his handler's family while the officer was on vacation.

"He was being watched by our officer's parents, and he was in a kennel, and somehow he got out," Pitt County Sheriff's Office Chief James Tripp said.

The family was not at home when the dog escaped, he said.

The retriever, trained to search for drugs, is valued at about $5,000 due to his training, the chief said. The office purchased the dog in February of last year.

Felix, a neutered male, was not wearing a collar at the time he escaped. He does not have any kind of specific identifying marks. He weighs about 70-75 pounds.

Locals have reported seeing the dog running loose in the area, so officers do not believe Felix's disappearance was an attempt to steal the dog.

If spotted, Felix is safe to approach, Tripp said.

"He's very friendly," he said.

Felix was last seen at 12:30 p.m. Friday near Ridge Drive and Sandhill Drive in the Mar Mac area.

There is a reward being offered by a private party for the return of the dog, a member of the handler's family said. Anyone with information about the dog's whereabouts can contact the Pitt County Sheriff's Office at 252-830-4141.