Florida K-9 tracks down missing 11-year-old girl who locked herself in a park bathroom

News & Politics

A K-9 in Florida helped track down a missing and endangered 11-year-old girl on Friday, finding her locked in a park bathroom, according to the New York Post. It is unclear how or why the girl ran away from home.

K-9 Mary Lu and Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputy Sarah Ernstes showed up at Carlton Lake Drive around 8:00 p.m. to search for the girl who had gone missing. The two were able to track the young girl to a neighbor’s home, where they discovered that the residents had given the girl a ride to a nearby apartment in Wimauma.

The sheriff’s office said several units made their way to the apartment complex, where Lu alerted the deputies to a locked bathroom door in a park nearby. The young girl was discovered to have locked herself in the bathroom, but the authorities were able to safely convince her to unlock the door.

The girl was found safe and without injury, according to the report.

Lu was reportedly joyful to have found the young girl, wagging her tail at the sight of the 11-year-old, per WSVN.

“Look at you! Can she give you a kiss? That’s her reward for finding you,” Deputy Ernstes said, which was captured on her bodycam video of the rescue.

Lu appeared to show the 11-year-old affection, and the girl hugged Lu in return.

Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a news release that “our team HCSO K9 Unit has once again proven its invaluable role in our community.”

“With their exceptional skills, they successfully located and brought home a missing 11-year-old girl, reuniting her safely with her family. I couldn’t be prouder of our team’s commitment to service and determination to protect and serve.”

Specially trained dogs have been used by law enforcement since the Middle Ages. The most commonly used breeds are German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois, according to the National Police Dog Foundation.

Police K-9s are trained to be either patrol dogs or detection dogs, which are two distinct specializations. Depending on the specialization, the K-9 will receive unique training.

Police K-9s generally serve for between six and nine years, and the intentional killing of a police dog in many countries is considered a criminal offense.

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