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Yuma, the DOJ’s “Accelerant Detection Canine,” was born Christmas Day 2010. Her first day “at the office” at DCI headquarters in Madison was December 10, 2012. Prior to officially joining DCI, Yuma spent several months in prison as a student of “Puppies Behind Bars,” a non-profit organization that puts puppies in prison where they’re trained to become service dogs, accelerant detection canines, companion, therapy or guide dogs. Yuma’s training “behind bars” began on Valentine’s Day 2011 at only seven-weeks-old.
As an Accelerant Detection Canine, Yuma is assigned to DCI Special Agent Mike Reimer and is trained to detect hydrocarbons found in ignitable liquids. Special Agent Reimer spent six weeks in Front Royal, VA, at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Canine Training Center to work daily with Yuma before returning to Wisconsin for her role at DCI. Yuma continues to train with Special Agent Reimer twice a day, seven days a week. Since being awarded her DCI badge on December 7, 2012, Yuma already has assisted in a number of fire origin and cause investigations in Wisconsin.
According to its website, Puppies Behind Bars, Inc. began in 1997 as a non-profit organization dedicated to training prison inmates to raise puppies to be guide dogs for the blind. After September 11, 2001, PBB added the training of Accelerant Detection Canines to its program. To read more about the dogs and their lives behind bars for 16 months, visit www.puppiesbehindbars.com.
When Yuma is off-duty, she spends her time with Special Agent Reimer and his family, like any other family pet.