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Santa Barbara Co. Fire search dog passes away

Posted at 4:35 PM, Aug 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-09 19:45:03-04

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department announced Monday the death of their live scent search dog, Riley.

Riley was trained by the Search Dog Foundation in Santa Paula and upon certification was paired with Captain Eric Gray of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The pair passed their FEMA Certification in 2010. The two maintained their skill set for disaster searches by training daily and by traveling at least twice a week for search training with their teammates on California Task Force 2, based in Los Angeles.

According to fire officials, below are just a few of the high profile deployments Eric and Riley took part in:

On August 24, 2010, Eric and Riley responded to their first disaster, a semi-truck loaded with gravel had launched off the road and into a Santa Barbara home. Riley Worked tirelessly ensuring no victims were left unaccounted for.

Riley's work was not limited to local incidents, On March 10th, 2011, while assigned to Los Angeles County FEMA Task Force 2, he and Captain Gray were deployed to Japan to search for victims in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

On April 26th 2015 Captain Gray and Riley were again deployed overseas to provide their services to the victims of the Nepal Earthquake. They worked for over a week looking for and locating victims amongst the rubble.

In 2017 the duo brought their skills to Puerto Rico to search for victims of Hurricane Maria.

Riley's last high-profile deployment was on January 9th 2018 where he and Captain Gray searched for several days following the devastating Montecito debris flow.

Riley, who was nearly 13-years-old, spent his last two years of retirement at home with Captain Gray and his family.