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Santa Barbara County Fire announces passing of arson investigation dog after brain tumor diagnosis

K9 RILEY.jpg
Posted at 9:42 AM, Jul 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-09 13:07:33-04

A Santa Barbara County Fire dog that served as the department's accelerant detection/arson canine for the past seven years was put down this week.

The department made the announcement Wednesday, saying they are deeply saddened to announce their canine family member, Riley, was humanely euthanized this week following a brain tumor diagnosis in April.

Riley had been with the department since 2013, and was one of four accelerant detection canines in the State of California sponsored by the State Farm Insurance Arson Dog Program.

Riley and his partner, Captain Howard Orr, responded to over 60 calls for service throughout Santa Barbara County resulting in the detection of accelerants on over 40 fires.

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Riley's hard work and dedication to the citizens of Santa Barbara County resulted in the incarceration of several arsonists. His most notable conviction was of an arsonist who set three fires in one night in Santa Maria, resulting in a conviction and sentence of 17 years.

Riley also participated in a lot of community work with school presentations, community events and service club presentations throughout the years.

Fire Chief Mark Hartwig commented, "Riley is part of our family. We mourn the loss of Riley the same way we mourn the loss of any other member of the fire family."