ATLANTA, GA (WALB) - The state's longest-living arson dog has died after a brief illness, officials announced Monday.
Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens said the dog, named Cotton, died on February 19.
Cotton was the state's sixth arson dog. He was born Feb. 9, 2001, and began his training as an arson detection Labrador retriever in August 2003 at the Maine State Police Training Center in Alfred, Maine.
He came to work for the Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner's office in September 2003.
Between September 2003 and January 2014, Cotton and his handler, Investigator Bruce Gourley were involved in more than three thousand fire investigations.
According to a report, Cotton's specialized training in sniffing out petrochemical products allowed him to determine if accelerants were used to start a fire.
This ability led to the convictions of 250 arson suspects, which included six arrests for murders that involved arson.