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Decatur police K-9 finds missing elderly man

Published: Oct. 23, 2014 at 11:30 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 21, 2014 at 12:31 AM CST
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DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - A Decatur police dog is being called a hero.

An elderly man who suffers from dementia wandered off from an assisted living facility in Decatur. Police searched, but could not find him.

Then, they called in Bear and his handler, and they found the man in the woods.

Police grabbed something from the 82-year-old's clothes hamper, Bear took a whiff, and the dog went to work.

The German Shepard is trained to track narcotics, suspects, and missing people. Last Saturday, he showed his stuff, and maybe saved a life.

Workers at Country Cottage Assisted Living reported they could not find an elderly resident. Police searched the grounds, with no sign of the missing man. Sgt. Kyle Shelton brought Bear to the scene.

"I went to his room and got a pair of socks out of his dirty clothes hamper to use them as a scent article." said Sgt. Shelton. "Took them to the place he was last seen and dropped them on the ground. My dog sniffed the socks and started the track."

Bear guided his handler about a half mile into the woods. Within a half hour, they found the man.

"He was face down on a four-wheeler trail about six feet from his walker." said Sgt. Shelton. "We had paramedics to the scene immediately."

The man was taken to the hospital, and we're told he's going to be okay. Sgt. Shelton said Bear's job well done was an example of how important police dogs are for the community.

"He was a diabetic and his blood sugar was low. There's no telling if it had taken another hour or hour and a half to find him, how much longer he would have been laying out there." said Sgt. Shelton. "I think Bear saved his life."

Decatur police want to remind everyone about Project Lifesaver. It's a bracelet with a radio frequency that can help track people with brain disorders who get lost.

You can get one, free of charge, from the Decatur Police Department and the Morgan County Sheriff's Office.

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