SIDNEY, Ohio (WDTN) – A Sidney police dog named Bandit is being hailed by officers and community members for helping police rapidly respond to a missing child call.
On October 8, Bandit and his primary officer Deputy Frank Bleigh responded to a call that a local 3-year boy had gone missing from his front yard. The child had been missing for 45 minutes at the time of the call.
The boy is believed to have wandered off on his own and no one else is believed to be involved. Due to the age and limitations of the child, police began to search the surrounding area.
The home of the missing boy is located on Sidney Plattsville Road in Sidney. The road is largely farm land, often with miles between houses. The home is surrounded by open country roads with fast speed limits, corn fields, ditches, and other dangerous areas that are unsafe for a small child.
Within ten minutes of arriving on the scene, Bandit was able to pick up on the scent necessary for tracking and was able to lead officers to a nearby field where the young boy was found.
“We could see him in a field about 100 yards out,” said Deputy Bleigh. “We continued to track and were able to grab the child and pick him up and bring him back to Dad.”
The child sustained no injuries and required no medical attention but was found in a patch of thistles, which can scrape skin and which officers believe the child was scared to move in.
Officers said that the child was frightened and upset when he was found. The child calmed down once officers returned him to his home.
The family is asking for privacy and did not want to publicly speak about the incident.
The dog, Bandit, is a four year old German Shepherd-Malinois mix that has worked for four months as a Dual Purpose Patrol Dog.
Police officials say that trained dogs like Bandit are extremely useful trackers and are capable of searching for individuals and items in ways that no human could compare with.
Officers said that once Bandit arrived on the scene, he helped officers limit the area that they were searching. Because of the many fields and surrounding farmland, officers knew that a small child would be hard to track through the high grass and tall stalks of corn located nearby..
“He’s a really tracker, he’s a good narcotics dog, and he loves attention,” said Deputy Bleigh.
Bandit should continue to receive more attention. The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office’s post celebrating Bandit has begun to spread and has received more then 6,000 responses in less than 24 hours.