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Ruby's nose knows the way to go to get her man

Already an award-winner, this bloodhound leads deputies to a suspect who fled 1 1/2 miles on a bicycle.

Published October 4, 2003

APOLLO BEACH - She may be a star, but Ruby sure doesn't rest on her laurels.

Just a few weeks after winning the 2003 Pet Hall of Fame Award from the Florida Veterinary Medical Association, Ruby, a 2 1/2-year-old bloodhound with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, made one of her biggest collars.

Ruby tracked a suspect in a liquor store robbery a mile and a half from the store to his Apollo Beach home, where he was arrested Thursday night.

"Hopefully this will be one of many we'll get with her," said Ruby's handler, Deputy Gary Herman.

Robert King, 20, was charged with the armed robbery of Apollo Beach Liquors.

Police say King, wielding a sawed-off shotgun, robbed the cashier and fled on a bicycle.

Herman said Ruby rarely tracks bicycles, but as soon as she picked up the scent, she took right off.

Police found King in the woods near his home. He was in custody an hour after the robbery.

Herman called it a "shot in the dark" that Ruby was able to sniff out such a difficult scent so quickly.

In the past, Ruby has helped track down a suicidal woman who had been missing for four days, as well as the kidnapped daughter of a sheriff's detective.

When she won her Hall of Fame Award last month in Orlando, Ruby got a congratulatory plaque. This time, her reward was much sweeter.

"I went to one of those 24-hour-open McDonald's," Herman said, "and bought her a hamburger."

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