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K-9 police dog units make huge impact in Montana crime, drug fight

KALISPELL — Audie chews on a rubber toy for fun, and he arrests bad guys for work.

As Flathead County Sheriff’s Office K-9 handler and Deputy Sheriff Patrick McGauley puts it, the 4.5-year-old Belgian Malinois is a “force multiplier.”

Playing with a KONG, a popular pinecone-shaped dog toy, is the pup’s reward for sniffing out a suspected bad guy, or more recently, gal.

“Audie loses his mind over a KONG,” McGauley said.

Viktor is also on the force, and he was the youngest dog to be certified through the California Narcotic Officers’ Association, said Deputy Sheriff Matt Vander Ark. The floppy-eared 4-year-old is a fast searcher and can find a lost child or even dementia patient.

“They call him a superdog. He’s full of energy, that’s for sure,” Vander Ark said.

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