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Bloodhound Visits Mesa Verde School
Mesa Verde students and staff were delighted to get a visit from the bloodhound Modesto's Moonshine and his handler Chuck Jones recently.

Moonshine is a scent hound that can track people over long distances by the smell they leave on the ground in the form of dead skin cells, hair, etc.

Before the incredulous, laughing children, Moonshine demonstrated his abilities by taking a sniff of a scarf that principal Kim Newton dropped on the ground, then followed her scent to her hiding place behind a trashcan.

Jones acquired the dog in Florida and set up the Golden State Bloodhound Search and Rescue Foundation a year or so ago to assist local law enforcement and serve the community.

The Foundation operates under a board and is non-profit. The Child Protection Education of America donated the dog to this community. Jones takes time off work to use the dog for searches, (he has worked in law enforcement for 26 years) and charges nothing for his services but seeks donations to maintain equipment and care and training of the animal.

Moonshine can search for missing children and adults, find elderly or forgetful patients like those suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, and track criminal suspects over long distances and all types of terrain. He can also locate lost or stolen items and cadavers.

Bloodhounds have a sense of smell that is many, many times more sensitive than a human, and retain that scent in the numerous layers of skin around their muzzle while their long, droopy ears drag on the ground and fluff up dead skin scent into their nostrils.

They are used more commonly in the southern states precisely because the vegetation is lush and the weather humid so that skin cells and smells do not dry up and blow away as fast as in the drier northern states, said Jones.

Within the last two years, Moonshine has scored several successes working with local law enforcement.

A year ago, a developmentally impaired man disappeared near Hughson, Jones said. His bloodhound tracked him at night along the banks of the Fox Grove Fishing Access and even entered the river to show he went into the water, Police officers found the drowned man's body once they were able to launch a boat at daybreak.

Another, more cheerful success story is also part of Moonshine's portfolio. Three months ago in south Modesto, Moonshine and Jones were called to help find an elderly person who had disappeared from his home in a motorized wheelchair. They found him fast. Actually, they spotted the person in his wheelchair while driving to meet the police at his home, Jones related.