Doña Ana County



With 510 votes cast in seven days, the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department’s newest canine officer has a spanking-new name: Snitch.

Snitch was selected from five finalists selected by the department’s K-9 handlers for the 19-month-old Belgian Malinois that was imported from the Netherlands and purchased for $4,000 with a federal grant.

The final vote count was: Snitch, 163 votes; Zorro, 152 votes; Tyson, 68 votes; Scrappy, 64 votes; and Hoover, 63 votes. The finalists were selected from more than 400 submissions after the department announced a contest to name the dog on Feb. 7.

Sgt. Gerald Madden, Snitch’s handler, said the dog came to the department with the name Berry 9, which just didn’t cut the mustard.

“Berry 9 indicates that there are eight other dogs out there just like him, and that’s absolutely not the case,” Madden said. “This dog is one of a kind. He’ll be a tremendous asset to the department and to the community.”

Madden said that after the list of five name finalists was released on Feb. 20, the votes started pouring in by e-mail, particularly from young students at Hillrise and Jornada Elementary schools in Las Cruces.

“With only one exception – someone who found fault with every single name we had selected – the response was tremendous from the community,” Madden said.

Snitch was playful and energetic at the end of his leash while a crowd gathered today to learn what his new name would be. But on the job, Madden said, the dog is all business. He is trained to sniff out narcotics and to assist deputies in special-response situations. He will also tour the schools in Doña Ana County to make presentations about the department’s K-9 unit.

Snitch replaces 12-year veteran Zico, who is beginning to show signs of back troubles and will be retired from the force.

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Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 525-5801.