San Benito woman becomes youngest trained dog handler

SAN BENITO — Samantha Neri was holding her German shepherd by a leash and in an instant she commanded the dog to attack a suspect on the arm 50 yards away.

Samantha, 20, a San Benito resident, is the youngest female certified K-9 handler in the country.

She works security detail for a private security company with her personal protection German shepherd named Callie, who she can command to search for narcotics, track a person and apprehend a suspect.

“He is an outstanding German shepherd. He will kill you with one bite,” Samantha said. “He’s awesome, well trained and well mannered.”

Samantha has the skill set to train dogs to follow commands ranging from searching for narcotics to chasing down a criminal hundreds of yards away.

She said she loves working as a dog handler and has helped train and worked with several police dogs over the years.

Samantha has aspirations to join the San Benito Police Department to be with the K-9 unit. She is currently in the department’s police academy.

She holds a security license level three. She is a licensed private investigator and has the experience and license to carry a gun.

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