Dog search team intensifies pre-development training in Ukraine to find corpses

A dog search team specializing in the recovery of human bodies is intensifying its training before the expected development in Ukraine. Springer spaniel Bracken, sprocker Bramble and Dougal, a mix of Labrador-Springer spaniels, travel to Italy on Thursday to improve their skills while waiting for a trip to the war zone.

Pilots John Miskelly, a British Army veteran, and NHS nurse Emma Dryburgh have been asked to help in Ukraine, but are awaiting confirmation that they are safe enough to travel. They are part of Response Rescue International Scotland and their carcasses, trained to detect the smell of human remains, will assist the work of the European Union of Voluntary Civil Protection Teams (Evolsar).

Micheli, from Fife’s Falkland, said they would offer “fresh handlers with fresh dogs” to help “tired” Ukrainian investigators who have lost loved ones themselves since Russia launched its invasion in February. . The 54-year-old told the PA news agency: “We are ready with Evolsar to go to Ukraine.

“We are the only two dog rescue operators in Evolsar and we were asked directly by a search, rescue and recovery team in Ukraine if we could help recover the bodies. I have been in contact with them since the war started.

“Some of them have lost children in the war, some of them have lost parents. The leader of the search, rescue and recovery team lost both their parents within two weeks, their homes were bombed, everything was destroyed. And they live in underground shelters and warehouses and so on.

“Whenever it is safe to be outdoors, this group leader with her other children go out, go around the area and retrieve corpses, retrieve civilians killed by the Russians and bury them in shallow graves. The photos he sends me are really worrying. “

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He added: “These people are tired, tired, their dogs have been destroyed, they are crushed. We are fresh handlers with fresh dogs and we even have a team of partners in the Czech Republic in Prague that we will bring with us – so fresh handlers, fresh dogs. “They are asking for our help.”

Mr Miskelly, who served in the First Batalion 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 them prepare for Ukraine’s development. He said: “When we entered this world of human recovery, it is not only the training of the dog, but also the training of yourself. “Emma and I have been trained in mental health awareness, we have also been trained in disaster management, how to deal with things abroad.”

Mr Miskelly said their job in the UK included assisting police in Scotland after the investigation was stopped. Regarding the type of skills required, Mr. Miskelly said: “We are looking for a dog with good momentum, good play, a dog that wants to play with a tennis ball all day, a dog that wants to look for a ball. of tennis. and then we can work with this dog to present the different smells they need to know. The reward for them as soon as they find a tennis ball “.

The House of Commons has heard that the charity is required to pay λί 75 per dog to be seen by a veterinarian each time they leave the UK due to post-Brexit rule changes. Last week, Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse told Secretary of State Liz Truss: “The service could be considered an emergency service and since they are going to travel to Ukraine, the Secretary of State will work with other Ministries to see if could these charges be dropped? “

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Ms Trous said she would “strongly encourage” the charity to apply directly to the State Department, adding: “We will look into this proposal.” The pet passport system between the UK and the EU has ended as a result of Brexit and all animals transported to the EU need an animal health certificate.

Mr Miskelly said: “Can we be given a special permit or some kind of exemption certificate if our dogs are fully vaccinated and have the rabies vaccine? Could we return as it was before? “We are emergency workers.”

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