The Real Reason Dog The Bounty Hunter Is Not Licensed To Arrest Fugitives

The world has been on the edge of its seat keeping up with the manhunt for Brian Laundrie, who set off on a cross-country road trip with girlfriend Gabby Petito earlier this summer. Laundrie returned to his parents' home on September 1 in North Port, Florida in Petito's van, unannounced, without her. After Petito's parents reported her missing on September 11, Laundrie's parents, Chris and Roberta, claimed that Brian left to go hiking in the Carlton Reserve near their home on Tuesday, September 14; however, the family's lawyer, Steven Bertolino, recently claimed that Brian had actually left the Laundrie residence on Monday, September 13. His parents reported him "missing" on Friday, September 17 — two days before Petito's remains were found near their campsite in Teton County, Wyoming — and he has been in hiding and on the run ever since (via CNN).

While there has been a lot of online chatter about how the North Port Police Department handled the situation, with many people saying that the investigation has been botched from the get-go (via Twitter), those who have been keeping a close eye on the case were divided when Duane "Dog" Chapman, better known as Dog the Bounty Hunter, announced that he and his team would be joining the manhunt for the most wanted man in America (via New York Post).

Can Dog the Bounty Hunter actually arrest Brian Laundrie?

While many people are rooting for Duane "Dog" Chapman to be the one to find Brian Laundrie in the hopes of bringing justice for the Petito family, it turns out, the "Dog the Bounty Hunter" star actually can't arrest Laundrie on his own, and there's a simple explanation for that: he's neither a licensed bounty hunter nor private investigator in the state of Florida, where Laundrie was reported missing.

If Chapman were to find Laundrie and detain him, he could be charged with kidnapping, as vice president of the Florida Bail Bondsmen Association Mike Harrison explained to the Daily Mail. "That would be kidnapping or false imprisonment," Harrison told the website. He added that Chapman's prior arrest record — he was sentenced to five years in prison on first degree murder charges after he was in the getaway car during a drug deal gone wrong in 1976 — has inhibited him from getting the proper licensing for writing bail bonds, bearing arms, and more.

Additionally, Harrison said that Florida removed the term "bounty hunter" from their state laws in 2007 to "prevent guys like Dog from coming here from out of state to track down people they have no business tracking."

Is Dog the Bounty Hunter's involvement a publicity stunt?

Ever since Chapman and his team joined the search for Brian Laundrie, social media users, law enforcement officials, and even Chapman's estranged daughter, Cecily, have been critical of his involvement in the manhunt. "He needs to back off and let the FBI handle it," Cecily told the New York Post. "It's just a publicity stunt. That's really what it is. To be completely honest with you, the FBI is never going to let Dog the Bounty Hunter catch Brian anyway — the FBI is way too prideful for that."

Chapman's estranged daughter isn't the only one who's alleging that he and his team are in it for all the wrong reasons. Harrison, of the Florida Bail Bondsmen Association, also thinks that Chapman's involvement in the nationwide search for Laundrie is just to get clout and possibly land a new reality TV series.

"Everybody in the business knows Dog is doing this for publicity, maybe to land another TV show," Harrison told the Daily Mail. "This is about getting more likes on social media, more exposure. But if he can find this kid (Laundrie), I guess more power to him."