By Jane Prendergast, Cincinnati Enquirer (Ohio)
Cincinnati's police dog team finished first Friday in the same national contest it won last year and was filmed extensively during the competition for an Animal Planet show.
Loveland's dog handler also fared well in the individual category at the United States Police Canine Association competition, which wrapped up Friday in Huntsville, Ala. Officer Jose Alejandro and Argo finished fifth out of almost 140 officers.
"I'm happy," Alejandro said Friday. "He gave me his best."
Of the five Cincinnati officers, Spc. Dave Kennedy fared best. He and his dog, Scout, placed sixth, just behind Alejandro. They were also second in the agility competition, which involved Scout jumping hurdles and climbing a ladder to a catwalk. They finished with 671 out of a possible 700 points.
Two of the other Cincinnati officers also finished in the Top 20:
Officer Tony White and Dakota finished 15th overall, with 661;
Officer John Neal and Maximus, 19th, with 654;
Cincinnati Police Officer Tim Pappas and Laser scored 634points; alternates, Spc. Scott Duncan and Gunther, 617.
Norwood dog handler Joe Dipietrantonio and Axel finished with 580 points. All the local officers had enough points to qualify for recertification.
The four Cincinnati officers' individual scores, minus the alternate's, were added together to get the team score.
"To have three of our guys in the Top 20 is really great," Kennedy said Friday as he headed to an interview with a film crew working on a show for Animal Planet about successful police canine teams.
Attention was focused on the Cincinnati team last month when Mayor Charlie Luken learned the city had failed to agree to allow the film crew to visit here. The crew wanted to document the dogs' work before competition.
Luken ordered the crew be allowed to film, but that decision came too late before this week's contest. The crew filmed the Cincinnati team extensively during the competition, local handlers said, and might be returning to Cincinnati for more footage.