February Chairman's Report: AKC Celebrates America's Search and Rescue Dogs
-- Celebrating the Work and Dedication of America's Search and Rescue Dogs --
With the recent earthquakes in Haiti, much attention has been brought to the search and rescue dogs working to free trapped citizens from the rubble. With certain capabilities far surpassing those of a human, these dogs have saved innumerable lives - and after working long shifts without complaint, these animals also provide comfort to their handlers in distressing conditions, making us appreciate the extraordinary canine-human bond and the innumerable ways dogs contribute to our lives in the most incredible ways!
Locally, New York Task Force One, sponsored by the NYC Office of Emergency Management and staffed by NYPD and FDNY personnel, deployed to Haiti with four search and rescue K-9 teams in early January to assist with earthquake recovery and relief efforts. After a more than a week-long deployment in Port Au Prince, the dogs and handlers returned with six rescues under their belts, including freeing 10 and 8-year old siblings from the rubble.
In recognition of their efforts, the American Kennel Club and AKC Companion Animal Recovery Canine Support and Relief Fund have donated $25,000 to the United States Police Canine Association Region 7, which includes New York City, to enhance ongoing search and rescue education of law enforcement K-9s and their handlers wanting to further their training in detecting and locating lost, missing or injured persons.
The AKC and AKC CAR have a long history of supporting SAR teams. The AKC CAR Canine Support and Relief Fund was created in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in response to the exemplary work and dedication of the search and rescue dog first responders. Since its creation, the Fund has provided $3 million to date in search and rescue grants as well as disaster relief in response to hurricanes, floods and wildfires.
The fund accepts both donations and applications for grant money at the following sites:http://www.akc.org/donations/ and http://www.akc.org/dogny/grants.cfm.
The American Kennel Club has also recognized search and rescue dogs since 2000 by awarding an AKC Humane Fund Award for Canine Excellence (ACE) in a search and rescue category. Over the past nine years, search and rescue ACE winners have located lost Alzheimer's patients, children, and people with mental disabilities; have worked at Ground Zero at the World Trade Center on 9/11; and served in Iraq, at the Texas A&M bonfire collapse, the Oklahoma City bombing site, the Columbia Space Shuttle recovery operation site, and in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
We're especially proud of our purebred search and rescue ACE winners including Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Border Collies and other sporting, hunting and herding breeds. For a job requiring a well-socialized, healthy dog with predictable instincts and work ethic, purebreds are the dog of choice. If you know of a deserving search and rescue team please nominate them for the 2010 ACE at:http://www.akc.org/news/ace/.
We hope that you join us in saluting these brave dogs and the important contributions they make in supporting our country and world in the worst disasters, as these search and rescue teams truly represent the best of what dogs have to offer.
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