HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — The bloodhound team for Horry County police found a shooting suspect hiding in the woods earlier this month.

Bloodhound Reba was ultimately the one who sniffed out the suspect’s track.

Joshua Soles, one of the bloodhound handlers said their team consists of four bloodhounds, four handlers and six additional team members who provide security.

“This is Reba, she has a litter mate, Pepper. They’re both two years old,” Soles said. “We have one that’s around three-ish and one that’s around four, four-and-a-half.”

Soles said the team got their dogs from two different locations. One in Missouri and another in Kentucky.

He said they tend to get the dogs around eight weeks old and start training them immediately.

“We would just do a short little trail where she could still see us, and we would let her smell the treat first,” Soles said. “And then she knows, ‘oh, they have a treat, I want to go get them.’ So, they would and we would start gradually start extending the tracks and start hiding.”

He said depending on how well they do, the dogs get put on live tracks at about a year old.

“She uses her natural ability but knows that’s what we want her to use,” Soles said. “She’ll get a treat for it.”

They train once a week.

“A team member will create a scent article, whether it’s sterile gaze or a hat, shirt, something that’s got their scent on it, drop it in a location and then they’ll go off on a prescribed track. Like lay it in the woods or in town,” Soles said.

From there, Soles said the dogs will use their natural ability to track the scent down.

He said the dogs are bred for this and will lead the team to where the suspect is located.

“Their ability to smell is much greater than humans and other dogs for that matter,” Soles said.

Soles said the team gets called out on cases for missing children, elderly with health issues and criminals.

He said the team tries to keep the same bloodhounds on the team for up to eight or nine years depending on their health.

Jackie LiBrizzi is a multimedia journalist at News13. Jackie is originally from Hamilton, New Jersey, and raised in Piedmont, South Carolina. Jackie joined the News13 team in June 2023 after she graduated as a student-athlete from the University of South Carolina in May 2023. Follow Jackie on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and read more of her work here.