Search and rescue unit gets new four-legged member

The unit was established some 50 years ago and has grown over the years by adding several different specialized teams.On Wednesday, it welcomed its newest hero, but she's got plenty of growing to do.
BAKERSFIELD, CA - Swift water rescues, first aid, and disaster operations are missions where the Kern County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue unit shine.

"We have about 240 search and rescue team members throughout Kern County," said Sgt. Royce Haislip. 

On Wednesday morning, the team introduced a new member, ten-week-old bloodhound Savannah.

"She has a very good scent sensory. All bloodhounds, they can determine one track. If I show her one track that we are looking for she can pick up that track through the five different acids in your sweat leaking through your shoe or your other pinholes," said captain of the team, Aaron Lynam.

Seems like a tough assignment, but bloodhounds are equipped with extraordinary scent receptors. They have 230 million scent receptors, 40 times more than humans. Savannah was purchased by Lynam.

"Savannah was bought here locally in Kern County through another breeder who her grandfather came from Shady Acres in Lancaster. Her line is retired search and rescue out of Riverside County," said Lynam.

In 18 months, the pup will be hanging with the big dogs, specializing in tracking missing persons and human remains.

Search and rescue members donate more than 40,000 hours a year on missions and training. The unit has ten specialized teams. The China Lake rescue group specializes in high altitude, high angle searches. The Indian Wells team specializes in confined areas like searching in mines and the K-9 unit.

"Our K-9 team trains very regularly. They train almost every day, especially with the younger dogs and with the dogs we have. Training with K-9's isn't something you can do once a week or once a month, it has to be consistent," said Sgt. Haislip.
 
Savannah can have a service life of up to seven years.
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