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Police Bloodhound finds missing girl in woods during Tropical Storm Elsa

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Posted at 8:19 AM, Jul 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-12 16:57:31-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- Just days after training, Mercy the dog rescued a missing 12-year-old girl in the middle of Tropical Storm Elsa.

Lee County Sheriff’s Office was called out July 6 when the girl went missing in some woods near Fort Myers as Elsa’s heavy rains and strong winds battered southwest Florida.

“A lot of things will kind of contribute to their success or hinder their success and extreme weather is definitely one,” Sergeant Julio Lock with Lee County Sheriff’s Office told WZVN.

Mercy, unlike most police dogs, is a Bloodhound. Lock says this breed is “biologically better to track.” They are used to track missing people because of how they are able to track and trap scents.

“Yeah, they have the cute squishy faces, but the wrinkles will actually trap in the odor of the person we're looking for. Their ears will actually blow the odor up into their nose and face so they can track older odor further distances,” Lock said.

Those super-sniffing skills came in handy, as Mercy tracked the missing girl through thick woods, heavy rains, and powerful winds for over half a mile.

The girl was found safe.

It’s a major accomplishment for Mercy and her handler and the entire county.

“Reuniting a family with a lost child like that, especially in a tropical storm or hurricane, and we got her home before any harm could come to her, anything bad, it’s a home run for us. It’s a win,” Lock said.

With dogs like Mercy on the team, Lock says situations that were “impossible” before are now “possible” to resolve and have positive endings.