SWEETWATER (CBSMiami) – Gunner, the K9 bloodhound who vanished from his home on Friday, has been found safe and returned to his handler.

Sweetwater police officer Jenna Mendez said someone from her neighborhood recognized him running around near a church not far from her home and brought him back around 10 a.m.

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According to police, Gunner was in Mendez’s backyard in Homestead when he disappeared. Police believe he was taken from the yard.

Gunner and Mendez, trained with Palm Beach Sheriff’s Officer Lewis Ledbetter and his K9 partner “Clue” for several months. Gunner was continuing with his training.

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Bloodhounds have a very keen sense of smell so they are used to track missing persons. After completing training, Gunner will be used to track missing children and senior citizens, as well as subjects who are on the run from a crime.

CBS4 reported on the 7-month-old black and tan bloodhound when he was donated to the department by the Jimmy Ryce Foundation.

“He’s a pistol right now. He’s got a lot of energy but he’s getting a little bit better. Still working on obedience but he’s great,” said Mendez back in October.

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The Jimmy Ryce Foundation is named after Jimmy Ryce, who was 9-years-old when he was kidnapped at gunpoint after getting off his school bus in the Redland in September 1995. He was sexually assaulted and killed. His dismembered body was found three months later near a trailer used by his killer Juan Carlos Chavez.