High Level Of Performance And Endurance “So That Others May Live”
The PRSAR Newsletter!
Some Updates on the great volunteers at PRSAR
Community Service and The Demo Team
Peace River K9 Search and Rescue is an all-volunteer Florida Non-Profit Corporation with a Federal tax exemption 501(c)(3).

Our mission is to assist local, state, military, federal, private agencies, and families as a force multiplier in the recovery of lost, missing, and abducted persons in urban, wilderness, natural, and man-made disasters while proactively educating response agencies and the community on volunteer Search & Rescue. One of the ways we accomplish this mission is by providing a demo team to the community.
The Peace River K9 Search & Rescue Association maintains a Demo Team to demonstrate the capabilities and control of our animal partners while educating and entertaining the crowd promoting Volunteer Search and Rescue. If this performance will work for your event, then, please make a request for the Demo team to attend your event--we love to meet our community! 

However, there are a few things we need to know before we can schedule your event!
1) Will you need us to set up a static display and for how long?
2) Will other pets or animals be there?
3) The team can demonstrate Search Abilities, Obedience, Agility, and Scent Work!
4) The Full Demo portion needs about a 50’ x 50’ area to set up the agility equipment.
5) The K9 team does a Meet & Greet. This is where there is no action Demo. This is a great time to see our Static Display, get a friendly kiss from the dogs, have the handlers answer questions, or pick up a K9 trading card!

Book Them Now!
If you would like to meet the PRSAR Search dogs and horses in person and see them in action, please click the link below, and let's get them scheduled!

Rising Star!

Meet one of the new up-and-coming K9 on the PRSAR Dog Squad, K9 Bubbles!

At just less than a year old. Bubbles is a combination of 5 different hound breeds along with some coyote! At an early age, Bubbles was viciously attacked by another dog. The owners did not seek timely care although she had suffered a tremendous injury to her nose and dental pallet. She was surrendered to a shelter and finally received good care. Bubbles has since been rehomed and found a job with PRSAR where she hits the work with great energy and tenacity. Team Bubbles should pass their certification this spring and their mission-ready evaluation in May. Once that is completed, they will be out in service to their community! Many abused and discarded canines have found a new life working for PRSAR.
Scent Preservation Kits

If you have a loved one who wanders, a Scent Preservation kit maybe be the difference between life and death by quickly supplying the Tracking K9 teams with an excellent scent sample. With this simple do-it-yourself kit, you can store the scent of your loved one safely and easily.

How to do it?

Follow these steps-
1) Purchase a clean Mason jar, some rubber gloves, several 4 x 4 gauze pads, and a Marker Pen.
2) Open the Mason Jar - clean it with distilled water (no soap)
3) Put the rubber gloves on!
4) Take the 4 x 4 clean gauze pads and rub them all over the arms, face, and chest area of your loved one.
5) Place the gauze pads in the jar and seal the lid.
6) With your Marker put the date on the Lid of the Jar.
7) Place the sealed jar in your refrigerator and store it. This scent sample will last about a year in this condition (we have tested to this extent). When the year is up, simply remove the gauze pads and repeat the above procedure!

If your loved one goes missing simply take the jar out of the refrigerator, do not open it, and give it to the K9 officer. He will know what to do next!

This simple technology has been around for over 100 years now and with the improved training methods for tracking dogs, we have had much success in finding the missing individual.

If you have questions or concerns about making one of these kits just contact us at the link below! We are happy to answer your questions.
Testing a K9 for Courage and Strength in Sinew!
Keeping the Team SAR STRONG!
Written by Dr. Arpad Vass,
Director PRSAR Forensic Applied Science Team.

This month I would like to focus on odor – specifically what human remains detection (HRD) canines (i.e. dogs) are capable of identifying. Odors are part of any ecosystem and are pivotal for ecosystem function. Animals use them for locating mates, marking territories, and obtaining food. Insects can be attracted or repelled by volatile chemical odors produced by plants. Blood-sucking insects such as mosquitoes or certain flies can detect carbon dioxide which emanates from living hosts. Other insects like fruit flies can detect ethanol produced from fermenting fruit - an ideal place to lay their eggs, while carrion-eating insects are attracted to chemicals produced by decomposing corpses. Since many odors are not single compounds, but a combination of dozens (or hundreds) of individual chemicals, many of the odors which are produced are unique. This is especially true for human decomposition and as flesh and eventually bone decompose, they release a suite of over 500 chemicals which animals can smell, identify, and discriminate.
Let me begin by listing some common misconceptions made by people who really do not understand scenting behavior in dogs or the chemistry behind human decomposition….
Live people and dead people smell the same – FALSE

(You cannot use live find dogs to find cadavers unless they have been cross-trained)

The smell of a dead person is the same as the smell from swamp gas – FALSE

(Swamps, bogs, etc. do in fact produce a few gases which are also released from decaying flesh – primarily sulfur and methane – but the suite of compounds produced from a human corpse are vastly different in total composition than those produced from decomposing plant material).

Plants cannot absorb the compounds of decomposition and transpire them through their leaves and stems – FALSE

(Dogs can, and will, alert on trees and shrubs that grow near decompositional events).

The smell of decomposing animals can mimic that of a decomposing human – FALSE

(Everyone believes the animal closest to humans in chemical composition (chimps genetically) are pigs, which dogs can easily differentiate based on their decompositional odor)

HRD and Cross-trained canines will routinely alert on human feces – FALSE

(if an animal e.g. bear, coyote, etc., consumes human remains, then an HRD canine will alert on their scat, but unless there is blood or other tissue in human feces, a well-trained HRD canine will not alert on human fecal material, septic tanks, etc.)

A well-trained dog should always find a corpse if it is in the search area – FALSE

(Much depends on the environmental conditions with barometric pressure being of primary importance. High barometric pressure pushes the decomposition chemicals down into the ground – making detection for the dog more difficult - and low pressure pulls them up out of the soil. Also, voids in soil and soil type could allow decomposition odor to migrate a significant distance from the point of origin).
Ideal canine search/soil collection conditions:

  1.   Barometric pressure < 30 in. Hg (<1016 hPa) and falling
  2. Temperature >12oC (53oF) and rising (ideally with sunlight hitting the site and warming the soil)
  3. Soil type (clay is the worst, sand is very good, humic is somewhere in the middle)
  4. Soil moisture (quite moist, but not waterlogged, very dry is not good)
  5. Air humidity (between 70-85%) Significant amounts of dew impede volatiles (best to collect/search when the dew has nearly finished evaporating). Heavy rainfall during collection/search is not always good
  6. Wind < 15mph

Human bone produces no odor – FALSE

(Bone consists of a protein called collagen and a mineral called hydroxyapatite. Even when the collagen has decomposed (which can take over a year), residue from the bone marrow and the mineral components can produce a unique human odor that lasts for many, many decades). When analyzing bone in the absence of any tissue, 72 compounds have been detected and identified. The odor emanating from bone from different Genera or species is quite unique in terms of ratios of very specific classes of compounds such as aldehydes, ketones, alcohols, and amides as can be seen in Table 1.
Every person emits a characteristic odor – a human odor is as characteristic as a fingerprint! There are three types of odor associated with humans:

Primary odor – stable and thought to have a genetic origin (Major Histocompatibility Complex)

Secondary odor – related to diet and environment (e.g. onions, garlic, etc.)

Tertiary odor – lotions, soaps, perfumes, etc.

While there are hundreds of chemicals that make up human decompositional odor, only about 30 are reproducible body to body, are high enough above background levels to be easily detected, and survive in the environment for many decades. Some of these liberated from soft tissue are listed below in Table 2:
It is also interesting to note that some of these are human-specific compounds such as carbon tetrachloride or the ratio between 2- and 3-methyl butanal. This is not to say that every time you detect carbon tetrachloride in the environment you will find an associated human corpse. What this means is that when the suite of chemicals known to be associated with decompositional events is detected and this suite includes carbon tetrachloride (for example), then the decompositional event is human in origin since animals do not produce this compound during their decompositional process. The gas chromatogram/mass spectrometer output below shows a characteristic profile for a human decompositional event. Each spike on the x-axis represents a different chemical compound and many can be found in Table 2. Carbon tetrachloride is also present, but was not labeled to due space limitations;
Be aware that when soft tissue is gone and only bone remains, the suite of chemicals and the odor changes (hence the reason to train your canine on all stages of decomposition). The main chemicals liberated from human bone include decanal, decane, carbon tetrachloride, butanal, benzene, ethylbenzene, acetone, toluene, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), heptanal, nonanal, pentanal, octane, toluene - to name but a few of the 72 chemicals.

It is also interesting to note that when someone dies and is buried, the odor does not instantly leap to the surface of the soil. In some instances it can take some time for the odor to be liberated and make its way through the soil column to the surface where it can be detected - of course, this depends on the disposition of the decedent, the soil type, how deeply buried, etc., etc. However, when the 500+ chemicals associated with human decomposition are broken down into the seven categories listed below in Table 3, you can see that it can take up to 17 days before any detectable odor can reach the surface even in a shallow grave and 25 days for a 2.5 ft burial! (Be aware though that many people believe that canines have a better detection capability than a mass spectrometer).
Additional things to consider:
As you walk around doing line searches, exploring, etc. you could be tracking/moving around decomp contaminated material (soil, leaves, etc.), which canines will alert on.
If you randomly probe an area, it could be contaminated with decomp which you will now be spreading around wherever you probe which canines will alert on. Always clean probes frequently with distilled water and/or dilute bleach solution to minimize cross contamination.
Sgt. Paul Dostie (Mammoth Lakes Police Dept – ret.) and Buster doing their homework before beginning the search for some Charles Manson victims at the Barker Ranch.

Some references:
Vass AA. Death is in the air: confirmation of decomposition without a corpse. Forensic Science International (Forensic Ecology), 301: 149-59, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2019.05.005

Vass, A.A. Odor Mortis, Forensic Science Int. 222 (2012) 234-241.

Vass, A.A., Smith, R.R., Thompson C.V., Burnett, M.N., Dulgerian N., Eckenrode B.A. Odor Analysis of Decomposing Buried Human Remains. J. Forensic Sciences, 53 (2): 384-392, March 2008.

Vass, A.A., Smith, R.R., Thompson C.V., Burnett, M.N., Wolf D.A., Synstelien J.A., Eckenrode B.A., Dulgerian N. Decompositional Odor Analysis Database. J. Forensic Sciences, 49 (4): 760-769, July 2004.
We Need Your Help!

This year, PRSAR was very honored to be included in the Lewis and Gloria Flanzer Philanthropic Trust. All donations are matched 100% up to $500.00 dollars. This opportunity has been a great way to get PRSAR back on its feet after the economic slowdown caused by the Pandemic.

To Donate to PRSAR through the Flanzer Trust Matching Grants program you first need to go to their website located here. Scroll down to the donate button.
Once you click there you will go to another page....
On that page please choose your recipient which is Peace River K9
You will be taken to a payment page where you can donate either by PayPal or by Credit Card. Once you have completed that form, you will go to a confirmation page and in about two weeks you will receive a thank you letter from us!

If you would like to make a donation by check, please make the check out to:

The Louis & Gloria Flanzer Philanthropic Trust
1843 Floyd Street
Sarasota, FL 34239.

In the memo section please note for Peace River K9 SAR!

That's it!!!!

With those funds, we can keep our teams in the field assisting with the location of missing or lost persons

Thank you in advance for your support!

Peace River K9 Search & Rescue Association, Inc.
A Florida Nonprofit Corporation 501(c)(3) CH 31988 IRS 27-1584186
Our Motto
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade
"That Others May Live"