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These bloodhounds are training to help find missing people across Colorado

Bloodhound Man-Trackers provides law enforcement with most of the state's bloodhounds.

DENVER — Release the hounds. The bloodhounds, that is.  

When people go missing in Colorado or certain crimes are committed, one of the first calls from law enforcement is often to a non-profit based in Kiowa.

Copper, Carline, Isabelle and Hiccup are the four most important members of Bloodhound Man-Trackers, a nonprofit founded in 2014 by three law enforcement officers in Colorado to help law enforcement agencies throughout the state.  

Over the past eight years, the four dogs and their four handlers, none of whom gets paid, have worked for about 65 different agencies on nearly 200 cases, many of them high-profile murder cases.

"There aren't any agencies in Colorado that have a full-time bloodhound unit for tracking down bad guys and finding the lost and missing," said Brian Eberle, vice-president of Bloodhound Man-Trackers. "If there's a need, they'll call Bloodhound Man-Trackers."

The handlers and their dogs train every Monday for a few hours to hone and maintain the dogs' remarkable ability to find human remains and living humans.

"They see everything you see, they smell everything 60 million times better than you," said Frank Hurst, the president of Bloodhound Man-Trackers and a former investigator with the Elbert County Sheriff's Office. "I'm glad I can't smell like they do; that would be horrible."

Hurst said he and his dogs have found about 30 missing people over the years, alive and well.  According to Frank, it's the part of the work that makes all the hours of training, and the many miles of tracking, worthwhile.

"When you find that one person, even if you find only one in your entire career, what an amazing feeling, "Hurst said.

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