United States Police Canine Association 2012 National K-9 Trials, Oct. 15 - 18, 2012 Cats are probably hiding out this week because Punta Gorda is hosting the 42nd United States Police Canine Association National Field Trials (Oct. 15 - 18, 2012). About 140 canine teams from across the country are anticipated to participate in the national competition. In addition to obedience, dogs will participate in a series of phases in the competition, including: Agility - leaping hurdles, scaling a ladder and leaping in a six-foot broad jump; Suspect Search - the canine must inspect six boxes and find the one with a suspect hiding in it; Article Search – In an area that’s 30 x 30 foot square with grass at least 24 inches tall, the K-9 must find two articles and bring them to the handler outside the square, within 3 minutes; Apprehension – a series of segments include apprehending the suspect, chasing the suspect then recalled before contact, a false start when the suspect runs but the K-9 must watch and apprehending a suspect following gunfire. Handlers will compete against their peers throughout the week and receive the Certificate of Excellence at the end of the trials. This certificate is awarded to teams attaining  a score of 560 total points out of 700 points. Although trials at Laishley and Gilchrist parks in Punta Gorda are open to the public (Oct. 15 - 17), the K-9 Public Demonstration on Thursday, Oct. 18 at the Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte is a must-attend event. Demonstrations with police dogs from across the United States are 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., however leading up to the Public Demonstration, observers will be treated to the traditional lighted procession of police vehicles beginning in Punta Gorda and ending at the Charlotte Sports Park. Hosted by the Punta Gorda Police Department and Charlotte County Sheriff's Office, admission is free into this family-friendly event. For a complete schedule of events, view the schedule posted on the City of Punta Gorda website.