Memphis Animal Services to Select Search and Rescue Dogs

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Buster got his second chance as a search and rescue dog from the Tennessee Task Force.
  • Buster got his second chance as a search and rescue dog from the Tennessee Task Force.

More shelter dogs will be given a second chance at life, thanks to a new partnership between Memphis Animal Services and the Tennessee Task Force, one of 28 national Urban Search and Rescue task forces.

The partnership was announced on Thursday afternoon at a press conference at the new Memphis Animal Services facility on Appling City Cove. Memphis Animal Services personnel will be trained to identify dogs that could make effective search and rescue dogs.

Dogs that are accepted will enter the task force's training program. Trained dogs could eventually become part of a state and federal task force and be dispatched to find victims in disaster relief operations.

Currently, the Tennessee Task Force has 22 trained dogs. Deborah Burnett oversees the task force's canine training program, and she said some dogs from the local shelter may even be trained to work with other task forces across the country.

"We'll take as many dogs as we find that are viable candidates," Burnett said.

Burnett brought search and rescue dog Buster to press conference. Buster was rescued from a Texas animal shelter one day before he was scheduled to be euthanized.

Memphis Animal Services interim director James Rogers said the partnership would not only place eligible dogs into the search and rescue training program, but it may also help with training other shelter dogs that may not be candidates for search and rescue.

"Even if they're not accepted into the program, they'll be more adoptable," Rogers said.

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