DOGS-East, Inc. is a professional volunteer search and rescue group that responds to requests for aid from local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in the Commonwealth of Virginia and throughout the eastern United States. Our members fund 100% of their own costs including gear and gas as well as all veterinary costs associated with their canine partners, who they raise as family and train throughout their career.
Since 1980 DOGS-East has been assisting law enforcement agencies and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management in a wide variety of search and rescue missions. These requests include but are not limited to searching wilderness areas for missing hikers, hunters, children, mentally impaired persons, and despondent individuals. Additionally, we help conduct searches for victims of natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, mudslides, earthquakes, fires, and explosions. We also have teams trained to help law enforcement with the recovery of victims and evidence of crimes.
Our services are free of charge and we are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. In 2018, our team responded to 68 searches and contributed over 1,900 man hours and over 40,000 travel miles for search work alone. Add to these missions the weekly official group trainings, requests for demonstrations to various entities across the State, and continuing education work for both handler and canine, as well as the commitments of our full time jobs and family lives and one can truly see the dedication of each member of our team.
As professional volunteers, our handlers are skilled at canine training, map and compass use, navigation, first aid, understanding missing person characteristics, preventative measures, radio communication, crime scene preservation, subject evacuation procedures and more. It generally takes about two years of training and several tests including obedience, field search, agility and search comprehension, before any handler and canine team can respond to a search. As highly trained resources, our teams can assist a search in a variety of ways, from covering large areas and saving man power and resources for other tasks to helping uncover clues and items of significance that might be missed by the human eye.
Our teams are thankful for every generous donation and 100% of every dollar given helps these teams directly in a variety of ways. From training conferences to gas reimbursements and team gear like radios, every contribution helps improve our teams and aids in sustaining our ability to serve the surrounding communities in any way we can.