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Santa Barbara County Search Dog, Which Traveled World To Help In Rescue Efforts, Dies

Santa Barbara County Fire Department
Santa Barbara County Fire Department Search Dog Riley looking for survivors of the 2018 Montecito debris flow.

Riley was deployed to Japan, Nepal and Puerto Rico to help with searches following major disasters.

A well-known South Coast search dog, who spent days searching for survivors of the deadly 2018 Montecito debris flow, has died.

Riley was a part of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, teamed up with Captain Eric Gray. After the dog and his handler underwent intensive training, Riley joined the Department in 2010.

In 2011, the team was deployed to Japan to look for survivors of that nation’s devastating earthquake and tsunami. In 2015, the duo was sent to Nepal after that country suffered a catastrophic earthquake. And, in 2017 they headed to Puerto Rico to help with Hurricane Maria rescue efforts.

The pair played a big role in search and rescue efforts in Montecito following the 2018 debris flow. Riley was retired about two years ago and spent the last years of his life living with Gray and his family.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.