Reno and Xinon, two German Shepherd-Belgian Malinois mixes who joined the Washington County Sheriff’s Department last year as explosive detecting canines, have already helped serve the greater community.
A few months ago, the two helped locate an elderly women suffering from dementia in Issaquena County who had walked out of her house and into a residential neighborhood. Reno and Xinon have also helped the department both track down firearms and ensure that suspects quickly surrender once they see the dogs are about to be released.
“These dogs have been an important addition to our department, and we are thankful to have them,” Washington County Sheriff Milton Gaston Sr. said. “These two are the first bomb sniffing dogs that we have had.”
Reno and Xinon’s addition to the force would not have been possible without the help of local businesses who donated money for the department to both acquire and train the dogs, the sheriff said. These businesses include La-Z-Boy Leland, Texas Gas Transmission, Platte Chemical, Jefferson Bank and TransCanda Charitable Foundation, among others.
On Tuesday afternoon at the Washington County Convention Center, the department showed their appreciation to these businesses by having Reno and Xinon put on a demonstration for employees of these businesses.
Xinon, along with his handler Criminal Investigator Vontrell Woods, came out first and tracked down a potential “suspect.” Once Investigator Woods gave the command, Xinon ran at the suspect, who was wearing a bite suit, and brought him down.
In the second demonstration, Reno, along with his handler Deputy Charles Keith tracked down a hidden small canister containing pieces of an explosive compound. The canister was on the complete other end of the vast exhibition room, but it only took seconds for Reno to track it down.
“He has a great sense of smell,” Deputy Keith said. “He has picked up the odor of a rifle over 500 yards away.”
Reno and Xinon were both born in Hungary and Woods and Keith trained with the two dogs for nine weeks at the K-9 Academy in Houston, Texas.
Keith had recently been hired by the sheriff’s department when he was asked to be a handler for Reno. Once he agreed, the two have only seen their bond grow.
“I am with him 24 hours a day and seven days a week,” Keith said. “It is enjoyable. I love animals and working with a K-9 is great.”
Woods said the experience working with Xinon has also been rewarding, and the toughest challenge for him is keeping his partner calm during an operation.
“Xinon has a high drive. He loves the work and he loves the hunt,” Woods said.