arson dog

Assistant Fire Chief Jim Kanavy and Mikey training together.

Mikey is Scott County Fire Department’s new accelerant detection canine and he just joined Assistant Fire Chief Jim Kanavy in May of this year working to find the cause of structure fires. 

Mikey is originally from Maine, where he was trained to become an ccelerant detection canine by Maine Speciality Dogs working with Maine State Police. Mikey previously worked in Tennessee. 

Mikey is trained using a red leash and a food pouch. When he sees the red leash and the snacks come out, he knows it is time to go to work, per Kanavy.

“When he sees the red lead and the food pouch, that kicks in the command to go to work. He’s trained to go to the source of the fire,” said Kanavy. 

When Mikey finds the source, he sits and waits for his treats from his handler. 

“Mikey is a food reward dog, meaning he works to eat,” Kanavy said. But don’t be alarmed, Mikey is a very healthy Black Lab who eats well, numerous times per day, according the Kanavy.

This is Kanavy’s third arson dog since 2004. He previously had Smokie from 2004-2009, and then Honey from 2009-2020, who just recently retired in January of this year and is now Kanavy’s family pet. 

To be certified to handle an accelerant detection canine, one must complete 200 hours of training, take a written test, and then finally put your canine to the test by finding droplets of evaporated gasoline. 

“Accelerated detection canines are a great tool,” Kanavy said. “They can help prove the guilty, but also free the innocent.”


IAN TEASLEY can be reached at

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