COVINGTON -- Newton County Sheriff's Office canine Pete was the hero of the day Friday after he located a lost 2-year-old who had wandered away from her home.
NCSO spokesman 1st Lt. Mark Mitchell said deputies were called to a Shenandoah Drive address in south Newton County around 1:30 p.m. and were told a child had wandered into a wooded area behind her residence near the Yellow River.
"A call of a small child missing in the woods near a river always gives first responders a sick feeling in their stomach until they are located," said Sheriff Ezell Brown.
The search for the child was begun by Deputy Joey Salers and he was soon joined by personnel from the Newton County Fire Service and K-9 Unit deputies Chad Hunt and Joseph Lightsey with Pete the bloodhound.
"After approximately 20 minutes of searching, the K-9 deputy and his bloodhound Pete located the frightened little girl and returned her to her distraught parents," Mitchell said.
NCSO spokesman Lt. Keith Crum said about the time the bloodhound located the child, the deputy had called out her name and she responded by saying, "I want my mommy."
Crum said when the first "scent check" was performed, Pete lost the scent at the river which gave deputies some nervous moments. But they went back to the area where the scent seemed the strongest and the dog was able to pick it up again and this time it took him to the child.
"These dogs are just a tremendous asset," he said.
The NCSO has two bloodhounds as part of its K-9 Unit. The dogs were added during Brown's first year in office.
"Our tracking canines are invaluable, not only are they a very important part of our fight against burglars and thieves, but they are also used to save lives," Brown said. "I am extremely proud of our K-9 deputy handlers and their bloodhounds who train very hard each week to sharpen their skills to answer the call when the need arises."