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Santa Paula Nonprofit Sends Search and Rescue Dogs to Aid in Hurricane Harvey Recovery

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A Santa Paula-based nonprofit that pairs canines with first responders is sending a few of its most interesting canine trainees to Texas to strengthen catastrophe response throughout Hurricane Harvey.

The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation has deployed a complete of 10 canine search groups to southeast Texas, the place the Category four storm made landfall late Friday night time.

The group was based greater than 20 years in the past by Wilma Melville, who noticed a necessity to enhance how the U.S. responds to nationwide disasters in the wake of the 1995 home terror bombings in Oklahoma City.

Canine rescue canines Huck, Tanker, Rugby, Riley and Pearl are seen in a handout photograph from the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation.

“Our nation in 1995 had approximately 15 canine disaster search teams,” Melville said. “That was clearly far too little for a country our size.”

Since, the muse has accomplished practically 160 deployments, together with sending canines to scour particles at floor zero after 9/11, seek for flood victims after Hurricane Katrina and recuperate victims from the La Conchita landslide.

“Here in Santa Paula is a gift to the nation,” Melville told KTLA. “All of the country’s search teams are welcome to come here and be challenged to grow, to be ready.”

The canines are sometimes rescues themselves, taken from shelters by the muse’s staff who’re skilled to establish canines who could have been deserted due to their distinctive traits, in accordance to canine coach Emily Hodges.

“Usually these dogs don’t make good pets, so we often find our dogs at shelters and turn them into rescuers,” she mentioned.

About two dozen canines are at present present process to rigorous search and rescue coaching course of.

Marc Valentine, who works with the Montebello Fire Department, will probably be serving as a activity power coordinator for the Hurricane Harvey response. A handler for 17 years now coaching along with his third canine, Valentine mentioned the canines by no means stop to amaze him.

“It’s incredible what these dogs can do with their nose — to be able to find the scent of a human who’s buried five stories down, and to stay on it and keep barking,” he mentioned. “It’s incredible.”

The canines can have their work reduce out for them in Texas, the place Harvey is the primary Category four hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Hurricane Charley in 2004.

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