Saturday, March 24 , 2018, 4:51 pm | Fair 64º


Santa Barbara County Canine Assists in Search for Autistic Boy

Blaze and two Search and Rescue team members are called to Mariposa County over the weekend

Santa Barbara County’s Search and Rescue canine, Blaze, and two members of the SAR Dog Team assisted in the search for an autistic boy who wandered away in Mariposa County over the weekend.

Team members Juanita Smith and Jim Frank were in Oakhurst last weekend for training with the California Rescue Dog Association when Mariposa County contacted Cal EMA with a request for search and rescue resources, including dog teams.

A 7-year old autistic boy from Southern California had disappeared after running into the brush in the Midpines area about 5 p.m. Saturday.

About 7 a.m. Sunday, Smith, Frank and Blaze reported to the area where the boy was last seen. The SB County SAR Dog Team joined search teams from several other counties in the search for the boy. About 11:30 a.m., a neighbor found the boy, who had suffered minor scrapes, cuts and bruises after spending the night in the wild.

In late February, the same SB County SAR Dog Team was training in San Diego when the team was asked to join the search for missing teenager Chelsea King. In that case, King was found murdered.

The SAR Dog Teams are an integral part of the SB County Search and Rescue Team. Blaze and Kody are highly trained canines who, under the guidance of volunteer members of the county Search and Rescue Team, serve not only the citizens of Santa Barbara County but the residents of California.

— Drew Sugars is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

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