Kachina, Maryland's Leading K9 Arson Detective, Bids Farewell After Stellar Eight-Year Career


Initially trained as a guide dog for the visually impaired, Kachina pivoted to become an arson detective K9 due to her exceptional drive. (Photo Credit: Maryland Office of the State Fire Marshal)

MARYLAND - Kachina, an esteemed Maryland K9 arson detective, is retiring after a remarkable eight-year tenure with the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

The ten-year-old black lab will conclude her service with a list of accomplishments rivaling any top detective. Throughout her illustrious career, Kachina has partnered with Master Deputy State Fire Marshal Oliver Alkire, with the dynamic duo assisting in over 600 cases across Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.

Kachina started her journey as a guide dog for the visually impaired before pivoting to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) as an arson prevention specialist due to her exceptional drive.

The canine's unmatched capability to detect accelerants used in fires has been instrumental in solving numerous cases, aiding in the conviction of several arsonists. Beyond their casework, Kachina and Alkire have championed the importance of the ATF K9 program, engaging with communities through community appearances, open houses, and statewide events. In January, the duo lent their expertise to train new ATF agents in Glynco, Georgia.

While most ATF dogs retire by the age of 9, Kachina's unwavering health and drive saw her service extended by a year. As she hangs up her detective collar, she's ready to enjoy longer naps, sunbaths, and more treats.

"The ATF Accelerant Detection Canine Program and its staff are the best in the world, and the K9 teams they train are top-notch. Master Deputy Alkire & Kachina have been incredible assets to the State of Maryland and its citizens. No matter what time of day or night, they were always ready to assist investigators." said Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Jason M. Mowbray.

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Ensuring the well-being of retired K9s like Kachina, Maryland Senate Bill 156 mandates state and local police forces cover up to $10,000 in vet costs over a dog's lifetime.

"Bill 156 ensures our canines and their handlers, after years of dedicated service, get the care and support they rightfully deserve," State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci said.

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