A dog from the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office in Tennessee has been hailed a hero after helping locate a 6-year-old girl who had been missing since May.
Fred the bloodhound tracked the missing girl to a barricaded outbuilding in DeKalb County on Friday, nearly a month after the child was allegedly abducted by her father authorities have said, as per People.
The girl, who can't be named as she is a minor, was last seen by a family member on May 26th, according to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office.
Thermal imaging and drones were used to narrow down possible locations of the allegedly abducted girl and it was finally narrowed down to her father's property in the Pea Ridge Community area.
Fred was called into the property and able to track down the missing child after authorities "obtained an item belonging to the father and allowed Fred to smell it," the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office said in a statement on Monday.
"They traveled to the home and released Fred who followed a footpath from the home to a burn pile, a truck, and an outbuilding," the statement read. "He sniffed the door and doorknob, then sat down indicating he found the father."
Both the child and her father were found inside the property, which "was barricaded and the windows had been covered up with metal," according to Dekalb County Sheriff Patrick Ray.
"There was no ventilation and air conditioning inside the small outbuilding. There was barely any food or water for the child," Ray said in a statement, "The outbuilding had a strong ammonia smell where the two had been urinating and defecating in a 5-gallon bucket."
The father was arrested on one count of child abuse and neglect. He also had warrants for failure to appear and custodial interference, according to authorities.
The child was eventually released into the custody of the Tennessee Department of Children's services.
Patrick Ray recently disclosed that the girl was previously removed from the custody of her father after the two were found camped out under a bridge in March. Authorities later learned that the dad had driven his Nissan Rogue off the road and into a creek, where it got stuck, according to Ray.
The dad was given approval by the DCS to live in the same home as the girl after his release from jail, according to Ray.
DCS contacted law officials on June 21 after the department was granted custody of the child but was unable to locate her.
On Monday, Fred's handler, Rutherford County Sheriff's Deputy Richard Tidwell, said in a statement that the dog has been rewarded with a feast of chicken and pizza crusts for helping track down the missing girl. He deserves it!
"He licked her face and she gave him a big hug," Tidwell spoke of Fred finding the child in a statement.
"I praised him and loved on him," Tidwell added, "I pulled the chicken reward out of my pocket. He ate the chicken and wanted to meet other people as if to say, 'Look what I've done.' "
Fred is the best boy!