Local Shelter Dog Sniffs Out Spot In Sheriff’s K-9 Unit

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Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis (right) welcomes Nikita, a small in stature but large presence to the WCSO's K9 unit.
Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis (right) welcomes Nikita, a small in stature but large presence to the WCSO's K9 unit. Photo Credit: Kimberly Roy

MILLBURY, Mass. — The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office has a new top dog for drug detection at the Worcester County Jail & House of Correction with the addition of Nikita, a 9-month-old Labrador-terrier mix, Sheriff Lew Evangelidis said.

Not a typical K9 addition, Nikita is a rescue dog that was donated to the WCSO by the Sterling Animal Shelter. Nikita’s small stature, high energy and keen sense of smell makes him the new cutting edge breed in narcotics detection.

“Nikita’s compact size, high energy and personality make him less threatening and ideal for drug searches on individuals as well as searches in tight areas such as small vehicles and drop ceilings, where narcotics might be hidden or stored,” said Nikita’s handler, Worcester County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Thomas Chabot.

“As the proud owner of two shelter dogs, I am thrilled to welcome Nikita, a rescue dog and newest member of our K-9 Unit at the Sheriff’s Office," said Evangelidis. "Nikita is a highly trained drug-detecting canine that will assist our department in searching for illegal and prescription drugs at both the Worcester County Jail & House of Correction and in the community,”

Nikita’s had to undergo 14 weeks of intense training provided by the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office. The specialized training has provided the sheriff with a dog that is able to detect drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and methamphetamines as well as prescription drugs such as oxycodone, hyrdrocodone, oxycontin and other opiate-based derivatives.

Nikita came to the Sterling Animal Shelter from the streets of Puerto Rico, where he was a homeless puppy. At Sterling, he was deemed a good fit for the WCSO K9 program and he was shipped off for his training.

Unlike a traditional police dog, Nikita’s personality is friendly, not ferocious. Chabot refers to this new type of K-9 as “passive-alert.”

The K9 officer serves as both a deterrent and new public safety tool for the sheriff and for the local community," Evangelidis said. “As sheriff, I also look forward to making Nikita available upon request to our local communities to assist them with narcotics investigations and drug sweeps when needed.”

For more information about the WCSO K-9 Unit, contact the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office at 508-854-1800 or visit: www.worcestercountysheriff.com

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Kudos to Sterling Animal Shelter and the Sheriff's office for this! Not only does Nikita get a new lease on life, but his story will also help publicize that shelter animals are not "damaged".