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Dog detectives sniff out Juanita Creek in Kirkland for bacteria | PHOTOS

Gwen Jones leads her specially trained dog Molly through samples of water taken from Juanita Creek on Monday at Juanita Beach Park. - Matt Phelps, Kirkland Reporter
Gwen Jones leads her specially trained dog Molly through samples of water taken from Juanita Creek on Monday at Juanita Beach Park.
— image credit: Matt Phelps, Kirkland Reporter

The city of Kirkland Public Works and King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks provided an opportunity to see bacteria-sniffing canines in action on Monday at Juanita Beach Park, as officials continue to try to trace sources of contamination in Juanita Creek.

Molly, a Border collie, and Crush, an Australian cattle dog, used their scent-tracking skills to determine if there is human sewage in water samples collected from the creek.

"They can recognize bacteria instantly," said trainer Karen Reynolds.

Each dog sniffed through seven samples, which were laid out in the parking lot. Both dogs found contaminated samples during the test, giving officials a better idea of where the bacteria is getting into the creek.

Kirkland and King County officials want to know if sources of fecal contamination in Juanita Creek are from leaking septic tanks or improper connection of sanitary sewer systems to the creek.

Other sources of could be from animals, such as pets, raccoons, geese or beavers. In addition to the canine testing, samples will be analyzed by the King County Environmental Laboratory.

Molly, left, and Crush take a break before working to find human bacteria in water samples taken from Juanita Creek.


King County workers Andrew Miller and Deb Brouchard prepare samples taken from Juanita Creek for "dog testing."


Ryean-Marie Tuomisto, the city of Kirkland’s Water Quality Program Coordinator, pours a sample from Juanita Creek into a container so specially trained dogs can sniff them for human bacteria.


Molly takes a good sniff from water samples taken from Juanita Creek on Monday at Juanita Beach Park.


Crush takes a sniff of a water sample from Juanita Creek.


Crush takes a seat to show her trainer that the sample smells of human bacteria.


Crush shows off some tricks prior to investigating Juanita Creek water samples for human bacteria.

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