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Well Known Arson Detection Dog On Central, South Coast Dies

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He was a dog with a unique nose for trouble, one who helped put a number of criminals behind bars on the Central and South Coasts.  The Santa Barbara County Fire Department’s arson detection dog Riley has died as the result of a brain tumor.

Riley spent seven years with the Fire Department, teamed with handler Captain Howard Orr.  He was given to the agency by State Farm Insurance, which funded four arson detection dogs around the state.

Riley is credited with helping to determine that more than 40 fires were arson.  He was trained to detect accelerants used in intentionally set blazes.  The work led to the arrest and conviction of more than a half dozen arsonists. 

But, Riley was also a popular ambassador for the Fire Department, appearing at everything from school safety presentations to Rotary Club events.