Apr 22, 2013 9:16 PM by Keli Moore, KSBY News

Emergency dogs on the Central Coast aid in vast ways

When an emergency hits, a dog can be just as important as a first responder, as we saw last week in Boston.

On the Central Coast, there are four bomb detecting dogs. Three of them work for the California State Parks Department and are stationed at Hearst Castle. The other dog works at the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office doesn't have bomb-sniffing dogs, but built up it's canine team from one to six dogs in the past year. They told KSBY they used money seized from drug busts to buy the dogs.

"Anytime there is a violent incident, the dogs can assist the officers," said Allen Barger, who is a Sheriff's deputy in San Luis Obispo County. He has been part of the K9 unit for the last 13 years. "They can track suspects that have fled from scenes, they can do building searches, and they can look for missing persons, and they can also find drugs."

Barger said in the last year, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office K9 team has been called out for duty 1,100 times. "They have seized over 30 pounds of marijuana, seven pounds of methamphetamine, a quarter pound of heroin, and a pound and a half to two pounds of cocaine," said Barger.

Neither San Luis Obispo nor Santa Barbara County plan to increase its K9 team anytime in the near future.

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