Dog search team increases training ahead of deployment to Ukraine to find dead bodies

A dog search team, which specializes in extracting human bodies, is furthering its training ahead of an expected deployment in Ukraine. Springer Spaniel Bracken, Sprocker Bramble and Dougal, a Labrador-Springer Spaniel mix, are traveling to Italy on Thursday to hone their skills while on standby for a war field trip.

Handlers John Miscelli, a British Army veteran, and Emma Dryberg, an NHS nurse, have received a request to help in Ukraine, but are waiting to receive confirmation that it is safe enough for them to travel. They are part of Response Rescue International Scotland and their autopsy dogs, who are trained to detect the smell of human remains, will assist in the work of the European Civil Defense Volunteer Teams (Evolsor).

Mr Miskelli of Falklands, Fife, said he would offer “new handlers with fresh dogs” to help “tired” Ukrainian search teams who lost loved ones since launching the invasion of Russia in February Is. The 54-year-old told PA news agency: “We are on standby with Evolser to go to Ukraine.

“We are the only two victim recovery dog ​​handlers within Evolsar and a request was made directly to us by a search, rescue and recovery team in Ukraine if we can assist with the recovery of the bodies. I have been in contact with them ever since. The war started.

“Some of them have lost children in war, some of them have lost parents. The team leader of the search, rescue and recovery team lost both his parents within two weeks, their homes were bombed, ruined and all. And they are living in underground shelters and bunkers etc.

“Whenever it’s safe to be outside, that team leader is going out with the rest of her people, walking around the area and they’re recovering bodies, they’re recovering civilians who have been killed by the Russians. killed and buried in shallow graves. The pictures she is sending me are really disturbing.”

He continued: “They are tired, tired, their dogs ruined, they are dismembered. We are new handlers with new dogs and we also have a support team in Prague in the Czech Republic that we Will bring with us – so many fresh handlers, fresh dogs. They are pleading for our help.”

Miscelli, who served in the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Rangers after joining the army at the age of 16, said the team would undergo five days of training in Italy to help prepare it for deployment to Ukraine. He said: “When we entered this world of human remains, it’s not just about training the dog, it’s about training ourselves. Emma and I have done mental health awareness training, we’ve had a disaster Have also done training on reaction, how to face things abroad.”

Miscelli said his work in the UK includes assisting the police in Scotland once the searches are called off. On the type of skills required, Mr. Miscelli said: “We look for a dog with a good high drive, a good play drive, a dog that wants to play with a tennis ball all day long, a dog that wants to hunt for a tennis ball, And then we can work with that dog to introduce them to the different scents they need to be aware of. Once they’ve discovered that, the reward for them is a tennis ball.”

The House of Commons has heard that post-Brexit rule changes are required to pay £75 per dog to charities to be seen by a vet every time they leave the UK. Last week, Liberal Democrat lawmaker Vera Hobhouse told Foreign Secretary Liz Truss: “The service can be seen as an emergency service, and given that they are going to travel to Ukraine, should the Secretary of State visit other departments? Will work together to see if those charges can be waived?”

Ms Truss said she would “strongly encourage” charities to apply directly to the Foreign Office, adding: “We will look into that proposal.” The pet passport scheme between the UK and the EU ended as a result of Brexit and any animal involved in the EU is required to have an animal health certificate.

Mr Miscelli said: “Can we be given a special license or some kind of exemption certificate, as long as our dogs are fully vaccinated and have rabies jab? Can we go back to the way we used to be? ? We are emergency workers.”

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