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National Search Dog Foundation to Build State of the Art Training Center


Santa Paula, California ' May 17, 2008 ' Today, the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF), the organization that provides the most highly trained canine-firefighter disaster search teams in the nation, announced that it has secured a $4.1 million 122-acre ranch site in Santa Paula, California, to build the first National Training Center of its kind. The National Training Center (NTC) will allow SDF to help strengthen America's vulnerable emergency response network by training more teams to ensure that no one is left behind when disaster strikes.

'There's nothing more basic than having the resources needed when human lives are at stake,' says SDF Executive Director Debra Tosch. 'The National Search Dog Foundation's ability to deliver highly trained teams at no cost to fire departments is especially important as emergency budgets are cut and resources are strained to the limit.' Over the next three years, the National Search Dog Foundation plans to raise $15 million for the purchase of the land, construction and a maintenance endowment. The creation of this facility will enable SDF to consolidate its canine kennels, search training sites and offices to the new location in 2010.

'I had a vision that one day SDF would have a permanent home'a place where rescued dogs could become rescuers at the hands of highly skilled and loving trainers,' says SDF Founder Wilma Melville. 'It will be a real challenge to raise the funds needed for the National Training Center, but the nation has given us the confidence to move forward. I hope we'll hear soon from a few special individuals, foundations, and businesses who will lead the way in helping us strengthen America's emergency response network.'

America needs more than 400 Advanced Certified Canine Search Teams to adequately respond to disasters in our country such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and landslides. Right now, there are only 180 teams, and experienced teams are retiring every year. The new Center will train new teams and feature unique advanced search set-ups for existing teams that simulate what occurs during actual deployments, including deep-victim scenarios, collapsed structures, mudslides, and rubble piles. The Center will also be made available to Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) for certification testing'a requirement before teams can deploy.
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About the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF)

SDF is a non-profit organization that produces the most highly trained canine disaster search teams in the nation. The organization recruits rescued dogs and partners them with firefighters, providing the canines and the training at no cost to their departments. SDF receives no government funding, and relies solely on support from individuals, private foundations and companies to produce the teams. For more information, visit www.searchdogfoundation.org.