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SINGAPORE: Sniffer dogs from around the world are playing a crucial role in search and rescue efforts after Türkiye suffered a devastating earthquake last week.

The death toll from the quake, which also hit Syria, rose to more than 35,000 on Tuesday (Feb 14).

Countries around the world have mobilised rapidly to send aid and rescue workers, including sniffer dogs as well.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) has dispatched its Operation Lionheart (OLH) contingent, along with four canines to assist in the operations. 

SCDF’s 20-member advance team arrived in southern Türkiye last Wednesday, and assisted local emergency services with the rescue of a Türkiye-Syria earthquake victim that same evening.

Care is being taken to “ensure the well-being of our four search canines”, despite the dogs being put through their paces, SCDF said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

“This includes housing them in climate-controlled cargo holds during their flight, taking them on walks for playtime, providing them a nutritious diet and giving them a wipe-down at the end of the day to keep them clean,” SCDF added. 

“The search canines also have their own thermal jackets and blankets to keep them warm. In addition, the two medical doctors with the OLH contingent are also trained in basic canine care.”

The four urban search and rescue canines, Jack, Timmy, Rizzo and Frenchy from its K-9 unit, are able to cover a wide search area more efficiently and zoom in to an area of interest with a live scent.

“This will then allow our rescuers to use search equipment to confirm the location of the victim,” said SCDF in a Facebook post last week.

The highly-trained dogs also have the aptitude for searching for survivors in the rubble of collapsed buildings and are able to search confined spaces in collapsed building structures.


Malaysia has also sent two rescue dogs to assist in rescue efforts in Türkiye, according to The Star.

These are the same dogs that assisted in search and rescue efforts during the Batang Kali landslide, the newspaper said.

The dogs, named Denti and Frankie, were given sufficient rest following the Batang Kali search and rescue mission, and will work in “12-hour shifts with breaks” while in Türkiye, The Star reported.

Mexico, meanwhile, mourned the death of a rescue dog on Monday, when a German shepherd named Proteo, died while searching for quake survivors buried under rubble. 

Proteo was one of more than a dozen rescue dogs dispatched by Mexico, along with 130 military personnel following the 7.8-magnitude earthquake.