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Fish and Game’s first K-9 officer Pepper retires

Senior Conservation Officer Jim Stirling with his K-9 partner Pepper
Idaho Fish and Game
Senior Conservation Officer Jim Stirling with his K-9 partner Pepper

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - After 11 years of service to the Idaho Fish and Game Department across the state, Pepper, the agency’s first K-9 officer has officially retired from service.

Pepper, a black lab who worked alongside handler Senior Conservation Officer Jim Stirling of Twin Falls retired on March 15, 2022.

Pepper was trained to provide specific skills to the enforcement efforts of the department, which included tracking people, evidence searches for items with a human scent, firearms or gun powder, as well as wildlife detection. 

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Idaho Fish and Game

Conservation Officer Jim Stirling and K-9 Officer Pepper look for evidence of shotgun shells.

The Department’s K-9 program was initiated by Stirling who saw the need and value of what a K-9 could bring to Idaho Fish and Game. Not only was Pepper used for enforcement purposes, he also was key in providing education and outreach opportunities to the public over the time of his career.k9_pepper_helps_in_the_cap_trailer

Idaho Fish and Game

K-9 Officer Pepper helps out with the Citizens Against Poaching trailer at an event in Twin Falls.

“Working with Pepper has been an amazing experience to me both personally and professionally,” conservation officer Stirling said. “I’m very proud of the work that Pepper accomplished from tracking small children who were lost, to finding evidence that was critical to identifying offenders.”k9_pepper_at_the_ready_march_2022

Terry Thompson/Idaho Fish and Game

K-9 Officer Pepper waiting for direction from his handler.

With Pepper’s retirement as the first K-9, the department currently has three other K-9 officers stationed around the state.

According to Stirling, he is already working to begin the training with a new K-9 partner that will follow in the same paw-prints that Pepper has established for all K-9 officers to follow.

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Terry Thompson/Idaho Fish and Game

K-9 Pepper's working vest hangs inside the enforcement patrol truck.

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