Update report on Team member Dave Marsh and his Trainee Drowned Victim Search Dog Sasha

As readers of this site are aware, our ex-SARDA England dog handler, Dave Marsh, is training his current dog [Sasha] to locate drowned victims [DVSD = Drowned Victims Search Dog].

During his many training sessions with his first dog [Search Dog Chi] Dave met up with many likeminded people who had the use of a dog from a professional standpoint.

One of these people is an ex-Police Dog handler who Dave is now meeting up with for joint training sessions as the Police Dog handler has a 18 week old pup he is training for cadaver work.

The Police Dog handler has also forged some links with the University of Central Lancashire with Peter Cross (MSc).

Peter is a Lecturer in Forensic Anthropology at the School of Forensic and Investigative Sciences, and is responsible for managing the operation of the TRACES* facility. He has undertaken forensic anthropological casework both overseas and in the UK and his research interests lie with post-mortem interval estimation in forensic taphonomy and entomology. In association with the school, he has been responsible for the establishment and development of the TRACES facility, utilising expertise brought with him from a previous career within the field of veterinary public health, specifically in legislative matters pertaining to the use and disposal of animal by-products, environmental legislation, bio-security and health and safety.

In consultation with Local Authorities, the Environment Agency and Animal Health, an executive agency Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), UCLAN has established the first such facility in the UK dedicated to the experimental study of forensic taphonomy using animal models.

The facility encompasses a 13 acre outdoor research area, indoor work area, a teaching room and office. The centre supports post-graduate research undertaken by students on the MSc Forensic Anthropology and Forensic Genetics programmes and by the Schools PhD research students. TRACES also welcome external researchers.

* TRACES = Taphonomic Research in Anthropology: Centre for Experimental Studies.

At a recent site visit, Dave, the Police Dog handler, Peter and his support staff all met up along with three dog handlers/trainers from Lancashire Constabulary. All expressed their thanks for the opportunity to work and train their dogs using the facilities at the site.

Also, in conjunction with the DVSD training Dave and Sasha are undertaking, Dave is communicating with a PhD student by the name of Lorna Irish. Lorna is studying for and writing her thesis on how dogs locate drowned victims. To date, she has relayed information on water soluble and insoluble gasses, how they are produced and collected etc as well as other interesting snippets [to Dave anyway].

Keep watching our website for more news of Dave and Sasha.