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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Not a Search and Rescue Operation

Eagle Scout candidate Jeff Carlson is using forensic evidence dogs to find unmarked gravesites in an El Dorado Hills, California, cemetery.

Members of the Institute for Canine Forensics, a non-profit group based out of Los Altos, the forensic dogs and their handlers spent last Wednesday searching the cemetery.

The dogs can detect the scent of human remains through the ground and are trained to sit when they've made a detection. Carlson and four other Scouts worked alongside the dogs and handlers marking each detection site with a flag.
According to dog handler Bev Peabody, there are fewer than ten dogs in the United States that can sniff out historical graves.
Historical grave detection dogs ignore the scent of live people and only look for residual scent, which comes from decomposing human bodies.

These dogs have assisted in several local investigations, working at Maidu and Miwok Indian historic sites as well as at the Donner Party campsites. [Link]

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