Clancy & Jake Armendariz in freeway rubble | Credit: Dane Mehl

Two of the same dogs that searched for survivors in Montecito following 2018’s deadly 1/9 Debris Flow are now doing the same in Turkey after powerful earthquakes rocked that country, Syria, and surrounding regions on Monday. 

Clancy was partnered with Los Angeles County firefighter Jake Armendariz in 2015. | Credit: Dane Mehl

The two dogs, Clancy and Deacon, are among the seven canine disaster teams trained by the Search Dog Foundation (SDF) in Ventura County that were recently deployed to Turkey — where as of Friday the death toll had already surpassed a staggering 20,000 — to assist in rescue efforts there. Their prior experience includes serving in two of the 18 SDF-trained teams who assisted in rescue efforts following the 1/9 Debris Flow in January 2018

Clancy is a 10-year-old yellow Lab who was found by an SDF volunteer through a listing on Craigslist that described him as “a high-energy dog needing a good home,” according to SDF’s website. In 2015, Clancy was partnered with Los Angeles County firefighter Jake Armendariz, and in 2018, the pair spent two weeks searching through the debris in Montecito. Now, Clancy is putting his training to use on the ground in Turkey.

“They’re searching for live human scent that is buried beneath the rubble,” said Denise Sanders, SDF’s Senior Director of Communications. “Most of them come from shelters and rescues. They go from being at the shelter to learning how to use their behavioral traits and skills to do something so great, but they don’t even know they’re doing it. They just really enjoy the game of it, and we channel that into something that can potentially save lives, which is pretty incredible.”

SDF canines and their handlers, who arrived in Turkey early Wednesday morning, join other two- and four-legged rescuers from the United States and all over the world in the race to find survivors. The devastation began with a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the region early Monday morning, which destroyed thousands of buildings and left an unknown number of potential survivors buried beneath the debris.

Credit: Dane Mehl

Dogs are trained by SDF in similar rescue scenarios at their 145-acre facility in the foothills of Santa Paula, where they have rubble piles and other training props to simulate a neighborhood hit by a tornado or earthquake. 

The seven SDF-trained teams responding to the crisis are from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department and Los Angeles County Fire Department, and will be a part of the 12 total American canine task-forces assisting in rescue efforts. 

“When they go out as a task force, they take all the equipment and supplies that they could possibly need, which includes food, water, and dog food, of course, to take care of the canines,” Sanders said. “They can be there for up to about three weeks. We have no way of knowing how long this particular mission will be, though. We’re just glad that they were able to get there so quickly, and obviously hope to get started in searching and helping out.” 

Support the Santa Barbara Independent through a long-term or a single contribution.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.