Allentown Fire Department K-9 Judge is a finalist in a competition to be named the 2016 American Hero Dog.
Judge has already been designated as Hero Dog in the arson category. He is now vying with seven other dogs for top honors from the American Humane Association. Voting is open now through August 24 at herodogawards.org/vote/ to determine the winner.
The 2016 American Hero Dog grand prize winner will be announced at an awards gala in Los Angeles on September 10.
Judge is a 7-year-old yellow Labrador retriever that joined the department in 2011. Fire Chief Lee Laubach is Judge’s handler.
The State Farm Arson Dog Scholarship program donated Judge to the city. He is the first State Farm Arson Dog in city history and was the first in either Pennsylvania or New Jersey in several years.
Judge assists the department in fire investigations and in prevention education.
Judge has worked more than 275 fire scenes. He has uncovered evidence that has led to multiple criminal arrests and civil penalties for insurance fraud cases.
As an educator, Judge has appeared at more than 500 fire safety programs and demonstrations for crime watch groups, specialty dog shows, elementary school and high school programs, and more. Chief Laubach has also developed a pilot program using Judge to get the life safety message to autistic children.
Judge has also been an effective deterrent. The number of arson fires has dropped more than 50 percent since Judge has been in service with the city.
The Hero Dog Awards are presented by The Lois Pope Life Foundation Inc.
The American Humane Association is donating $2,500 to each of the eight finalist’s charity partners, with $5,000 going to the charity partner of the American Hero Dog. Judge’s charity partner is Paws With a Cause.