SOUTH SALEM, N.Y. -- The community turned out in force for a recent open house at the South Salem Fire Department to enjoy firefighting demonstrations, get free blood pressure screenings, nosh on goodies and play in a bouncy house.
But it was Daisy the Arson Dog who stole the show.
The 5-year-old black Lab, who has her own Facebook page, was introduced to the crowds on Saturday, Oct. 15, by her handler, Detective John Peters of the Westchester County Police.
Labs are really good at sniffing out inflammable liquids, such as gasoline.
As “passive alert” canines, have been bred for their fine-tuned “scenting abilities,” Peters said.
Once Daisy catches the scent, she sits down and points her snout in its direction. That way, Peters said, she doesn’t accidentally interfere with the evidence itself.
Daisy’s sniffing abilities far surpass man-made devices and can, Peters said, can save professional investigators both time and energy.
Her talented nose can help rule out suspected arson as well, he added.
She will also sniff around bystanders at the scene to detect if any could be the arsonist.
Daisy, who is used on an average of 100 calls a year, began her life of service as a member of "Paws with a Cause," assisting people with disabilities, Peters said.
But when the pooch proved “too submissive” for that job, she had “a career change,' Peters said.
“She's gentle and friendly and loves kids. And she's very happy doing her job now," he added.
South Salem Fire Capt. Matt Yorke, chairman of the open house event, said he was pleased that it drew so many people on that beautiful autumn day.
The goal was to promote fire and other safety issues.
Other features of the day included live firefighting demonstrations, apparatus inspection and practical applications such as car seat installations and a Child ID Program sponsored by New York Life.