Search dog organization specializing in human remains detection looking to establish in Okanagan | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Search dog organization specializing in human remains detection looking to establish in Okanagan

Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Jonathan Dobroskay
September 04, 2020 - 4:00 PM

A new search dog organization is in need of a training facility in the Okanagan and is asking the public for help in finding potential locations.

Vanessa James-Davies, team lead with the Okanagan Canadian Canine Search Corps, says the organization is a volunteer group that uses dogs to find human remains.

Currently, the group has five members and six dogs and is in need of a training facility, or facilities that allow the dogs to search on different terrains, like a construction or demolition site, she said. Terrain that involves the lakeshore or rivers would also be useful, she said.

“It’s a game for the dogs and it’s amazing to watch how they progress and how they search and being able to provide that peace of mind to the families that something is being done,” she said.

The neurotic dogs, the ones that love to play, make the best dogs for the job, she said, but dogs with longer snouts often are better at finding the trail and larger dogs are better at traversing forest terrain.

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“They don’t always make the best household pets. They’re the dog that will drop the ball at your foot for hours on end,” she said.

James-Davies was originally part of the Calgary team and started the group at the beginning of February 2020 in Kelowna.

COVID-19 has made things difficult in getting the dogs certified for Human Remains Detection at this time, as testers were originally scheduled to come from the U.S., she said, but the pandemic has caused delays.

While they work with the RCMP, requests mostly come from families of the deceased. Team members are based in the Okanagan, but work with other parts of the organization to cover all of Western Canada, she said.

If you have a facility or know of someone that could provide different types of terrain, James-Davies asks that you reach out to the organization’s Facebook page or email at


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