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AUSTIN EDITION Mower makes police-dog switch

From staff reports

Mower County's newest police dog could go on duty in about a month.

Tia, a black Lab mix, and her handler, Chief Deputy Terese Amazi, are expected to go through narcotics detection certification in November.

Amazi said the department got the 1-year-old dog this summer in a trade with a department in the Twin Cities, which took Cleo, an animal shelter find working since January 2000.

Cleo had been paired with Deputy Jeff Ellis, and the two worked together until this spring, when Ellis and apprehension dog Taser were certified.

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Amazi said Cleo was transferred to another deputy, but the pairing did not work out. At that point, Amazi said, she decided to work with the drug-detecting dog.

Cleo, however, does not tolerate other dogs well after her experience in the pound. Having an elderly golden retriever at home, Amazi said she worried the dogs would not get along.

As it happened, Tia's initial handler in the Twin Cities was also having problems. So the two departments made the switch.

Amazi said Tia already has gone through drug-detection training, and she is now working with the dog on obedience instruction. Once the pair are certified, Tia will go on duty.

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