Meet Honey! She was the furry firefighter of Scott County from 2009 until January 1st of this year when she retired. The county first acquired dogs in 2004 when the Scott County Fire Department received a grant from State Farm Insurance sponsored by Steve Woodrum to receive an accelerant detection canine from Maine State Police’s Specialty Dogs.
The county’s first dog, Smokie, worked for the department until August 2009 when he retired and Honey took over. Smokie lived with Jim Kanavy and his family until he passed in 2013. Honey is a yellow Labrador retriever and has been working for the county since Sept 11, 2009 and has served the county for over 10 years. Honey has been nominated and competed in the American Humane Societies Hero Dog Awards and has traveled to Washington D.C. for that nomination.
All the dogs work and live with Jim Kanavy, their certified handler. Jim Kanavy is certified through the Maine Criminal Justice Academy as a Canine Team. He is also certified by the International Association of Arson Investigators and the National Association of Fire Investigators as a Certified Fire Investigator. He is currently on the Board of Directors of the International Association of Arson Investigators which is a worldwide organization with over 10,000 members that covers over 80 states and countries. Lastly, he represents the public fire agencies with National Fire Protection Association’s Fire Investigation Units Committee. He trains them by giving a food reward with a passive alert signal. This means that the dogs sit when they find the source of odor and are rewarded for their good work by being given a treat. The dogs live with Kanavy when working and when they retire. They are trained daily 365 days a year, and they go on family vacations and trips when he goes.
Honey retired from duty on January 1st, and State Farm has given Mikey to the county to replace her. Mikey is a 6 year old Black Labrador, and he was received in October. Mikey is also going through his training requirements daily to prepare for the job and fill Honey’s shoes. Both Kanavy and Mikey will be traveling to Maine in a couple months to complete the certification training.
All the canines, with the support of the Fire Chief and the Fiscal Court, have been a huge asset for the County and the State. Up until last year, Honey was the only accelerant detection Canine in Kentucky. The dogs will often be called into other agencies to detect the crime of arson with their keen sense of smell.