The Santa Barbara County Fire Department is saddened to announce the passing of canine fire family member Riley. Riley served as the department’s accelerant detection/arson canine for seven years. Riley was diagnosed with a non-work related brain tumor in April.
Riley joined the Santa Barbara County Fire Department in 2013. Riley was one of four accelerant detection canines in the California sponsored by the State Farm Insurance Arson Dog Program.
After a rigorous initial training sponsored by State Farm, Riley graduated and was paired with veteran dog handler Capt. Howard Orr. Over their seven-year career together, Orr and Riley responded to more than 60 calls for service throughout Santa Barbara County and its neighboring jurisdictions, resulting in the detection of accelerants on more than 40 fires.
Riley’s hard work and dedication to the residents of Santa Barbara County resulted in the incarceration of several arsonists. His most notable conviction was of an arsonist who set three fires in one night in Santa Maria, resulting in a conviction and sentence of 17 years.
Riley was a great ambassador to the community through his involvement with school presentations, community events and service club presentations.
The Fire Department thanks veterinarians Dr. Dave Dawson and Ann O’Brien Welton at the San Roque Pet Hospital for their exceptional care of Riley over the years, as well as the donation of dog food for the duration of Riley’s life from Wendy Guyer at The Pet House in Goleta.
“Riley is part of our family. We mourn the loss of Riley the same way we mourn the loss of any other member of the fire family,” said Fire Chief Mark Hartwig.