Officer and K-9 earn recognition at competition

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com

   Through rain and shine, through creek and through obstacle course, Carter County Sheriff's Department Deputy Sarah Ryan and K-9 Sgt. Kabor will not be stopped. The two garnered second place at the Iron Dog Challenge competition held for K-9 teams in Salem, Va., over the weekend.
   The fifth annual Iron Dog Challenge was sponsored by the Virginia Police Work Dog Association and consisted of a three-and-a-half mile course that included natural and man-made obstacles as well as endurance tests and police work challenges.
   "We got second place in the women's open division," Ryan said, adding that 12 teams with women handlers competed.
   The competition started off rough for Ryan, who drew an early start in the competition. "As soon as I got on the line, the bottom dropped out of the sky and it poured the rain," she said, but added that competitors who went through the course later in the day had to endure the heat after the weather warmed up. "I would rather have done it in the rain than the heat."
   The competition course started with a 100-yard dash that led to a series of obstacles for both the dogs and their handlers.
   After negotiating the obstacles, competitors had to work their way through a junk yard and complete a tactical pistol shoot where they had to fire six shots at a target, garnering time penalties for shots that were off the mark. Ryan fired all six shots on target and made her way through a field and to one of the endurance tests where she had to run three-quarters of a mile while carrying a 20 pound ruck sack.
   Next, Ryan and Kabor were tested on their police work when Ryan had to place her partner into a patrol car, carry a 160-pound dummy around the car and then take Kabor out of the car.
   After that exercise, the pair demonstrated some of their tracking skills as they performed a quarter-mile-long run through a creek. After the creek run, Ryan had to carry Kabor, who weighs 65 pounds, for 60 yards before sitting him down to engage a decoy and release it on her command.
   The pair completed the course in 32.05 minutes.
   "It was very rough because it seemed like it rained the whole time," Ryan said.
   The hardest segment of the competition, Ryan said, was the endurance test where she had to run three-quarters of a mile while carrying a 20 pound ruck sack. The best part, she said, was being able to compete with her partner Kabor against other police K-9 teams in the regional competition.
   "This was our first year in the Iron Dog and I plan on going back," Ryan said.
   Kabor is a five-year-old Belgian Malinois who serves as a dual purpose dog for the Sheriff's Department. He is certified through the United States Police Canine Association as both a patrol dog and as a narcotics detection dog.
   Ryan and Kabor go through a certification process twice a year, once for patrol dog certification and once for detection dog certification.
   The USPCA patrol dog certifications will be held during the first week of June in Johnson City. "We are hosting the detector dog trials this Fall here in Carter County," Ryan said.