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Boy Scouts build K-9 obstacle course

By LYNDY BERRYHILL

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Sheriff’s Office’s K-9 unit received an early Christmas present from the Boy Scouts of Natchez this week.

Over the past few weekends, two Scouts from Troop 158 built five-pieces for an obstacle course for the sheriff’s office’s K-9 unit.

Boy Scouts James Meriwether and Landon Lynch built the courses for their Eagle Scout service projects.

“I thought it’d be beneficial to the community, so we’d have better-trained K-9s,” Lynch said. “I think it turned out great.”

Lynch said building the course was the largest construction project he had ever taken on.

The course was completed in three weekends with the help of two extra Boy Scouts and some parental guidance.

“My dad helped a lot,” Lynch said. “He guided me through the project.”

The Scouts chose the course as their service projects because they said they saw a need for the ACSO’s growing K-9 unit. 

Since 2017, the ASCO has grown to three K-9’s including Duke, a bloodhound; Barry, a Dutch shepherd; and Dubai, a Malinois.

Just like human law enforcement officers, the dogs must maintain their physical fitness and undergo regular training to pass muster.

“It’s a good tool for them,” said Maj. Shane Daugherty of the ASCO. 

ACSO deputies said they would use the course at least four times a week.

In the past, the officers had to travel to Hinds County or Baton Rouge to use an agility course such the one the Scouts built.

“They have saved us literally thousands of dollars,” Daugherty said. 

He said the course would also be open to other K-9 units with the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Department and the Natchez Police Department.

Daugherty said he is thankful for all the support the community has shown the K-9 unit in the past three years.

“(The Boy Scouts) did a tremendous job,” Daugherty said.

The Scouts completed the course on Monday, Nov. 23, and delivered it the following Wednesday.

With their largest hurdle behind them, Meriwether and James await their Eagle Scout distinctions.

Eagle Scout is the highest distinction a Scout can receive. In 2019, 8 percent of all Scouts earned the Eagle Scout rank, according to the Boy Scouts of America. 

Including Lynch and Meriwether, Scoutmaster Lee Best said he expects Troop 158 will have six Eagle Scouts by the end of the year.

Best said he is proud of what his Scouts have accomplished this year.

“These boys just like to give back,” Best said.

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