K9 Handler Kristin Pond smiles while receiving an award at the USPCA Region 1 K9 TrialsFebruary 11, 2019

LAKELAND, Fla— Thirty-seven dog teams from around the state of Florida spent last week competing for “Top Dog” honors to compete at the national level.

Walton County Sheriff’s Office K9 Team, which consists of three K9’s and their handlers, proudly brought home several honors from the USPCA Region 1 K9 Trials in Lakeland, Florida.

Deputy Steven Tector and K9 Drago earned their USPCA Certification for Patrol Dog 1 and earned national points. Drago is a six-year-old Dutch Shepherd and has been with WCSO for three years. Deputy Tector has been with the agency for 11 years and has been a K9 handler for three years.

Deputy Damon Byrd and K9 Jester placed 2nd in the Agility category. Jester is a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois from the Netherlands. Jester has been with WCSO for just over a year. Deputy Damon Byrd has been with the agency for five years and has been a K9 Handler for one.

Sergeant Kristin Pond and K9 Kayne received the following honors:

1st Place Detector – Outdoor/vehicles

2nd Place Detector – Indoor/rooms

2nd Place Detector – Overall

1st Place Detector Interdepartmental Team with Officer Tommy Nguyen and K9 Dobies of Tarpon Springs Police Department.

Kayne narrowly missed the title of Region 1 Top Dog for Narcotics by .83 of a point.

Kayne is a 10-year-old German Shepherd and has been with the agency since 2011. Kristin Pond has been with WCSO for seven years and has worked alongside Kayne since 2013.

“We are very proud of the relentless efforts of our K9 Team,” said Sheriff Adkinson. “They went up against much larger K9 teams and came home with some amazing achievements.”