Scared Monkeys continues with the final part of our intial interview and Q&A session with Sam Pepenella, cadaver dog expert. Sam is a part of The K9 Forensic and Recovery Team. San will be back again this Thursday evening with Renee Utley to answer more questions live at Scared Monkeys. Join the discussion forum and participate. Previous Q&A interview: Part 1, Part 2
SunnyinTX wrote: Are either gendered dog more suitable/ trainable…I most often seem to hear females names of S&R and cadaver dogs….
Sam: Depends who you ask. I have a F, she is great, dependable and very good at what she does but she will be the last F I own. From my experience, the males have a stronger drive…..I know I’ll hear it from that statement…..Sorry all the female fans…….
cathicus wrote: Can you let the dogs off-leash to find a scent? I imagine that in dangerous situations such as a landfill, it’s better to keep them on-leash. I own sight hounds – greyhounds who would be no good at this job. My hat’s off to your dogs.
Sam: I work my K9 off lead most of the time. One must consider where they are when they release they K9. If I were buy a busy interstate (which I have been) looking for a body, most likely I will have her on lead. One must have verbal control to “Recall” they K9 if needed.
LostinTime wrote: Sam. Thank you so much for coming by this evening, you have provided us with a lot of information and it’s very interesting. I look forward to your return visit, in the meantime you are more than welcome to pop in and visit us, you would fit right in and we’d love to have you!! Thanks again for your time.
Sam: Thank you, but I’ll remember not to ask you what time the sessions begin……”LostinTime”
HannieC wrote: Sam how do you “handle” the findings of the remains of people, do you ever get depressed or are you getting “used” (not meant in a offensive way) about the findings? How do you cope with it?
Sam: It’s always sad…very sad. But there is a great deal of satisfaction knowing, we have found the victim and bring the suspect to justice.
candygirl wrote: Good Evening and Thank you for taking the time answering questions. Considering the heat in Aruba and winds, would it be best to have the dogs search at night? Thanks.
Sam: It’s OK but the problem lies in that you are in an area you are not familiar with… SIGHT is a good thing. Considering Aruba or any area you are new to, you must also consider your safety!
Being I went to Aruba, I chose to start searching at 0600 until around eleven or noon then break the dogs, until the late afternoon and start again when it cooled. The middle part of the day gave us a time to scout areas to search, do reports, tend to the dogs, gather information, provide information to the planning staff and plan out the next group of searches. Remember this…..although your K9 did not find what you were looking for, you are providing information to the detectives, where the victim is NOT! Thus leading the investigation in another direction or location.
justinsmama wrote: Thanks, Sam! I confess, after posting my questions, I mowed the lawn! Just now came back and read the great questions and your even greater answers!
THolloway wrote: I swear this is my last question. (Even though I wanted to ask whether Beano would hurt or help a 14 year-old setter’s own exquisite “sense of smell” ) Any trouble getting access, direction or support from local public officials? Are they helping?
Sam: It’s very political! Support mostly comes from the community and or business leaders. There are some grants out there but you will have to work for them. They are not easy to get.
AnnieMW1 wrote: How disciplined that they sit or lay down. I thought you were going to answer that they start barking.
Sam: Some bark. There are two different types, passive and active alerts. It depends on what the handler wants their K9 to do.
mskygirl wrote: The K-9′s I have seen locally are trained to respond to different languages as well as sign language. Is the true of the cadaver dogs.
Sam: Out of our 4 dogs, 2 are taught in German and 2 in English.
No rhyme or reason.
MuffyBee wrote: What do you use as positive reinforcer for the dog? Do they work for affection or treats?
Sam: Their TOY! What the dogs work for is their favorite toy and in some cases….yes treats or affection. This goes back to the statement I made earlier, “Ball Drive”. Some dogs think the ball is the next best thing to crapping any where you want! Good night and I’ll see you the next time!
texsar wrote: How long do you have to train a cadaver dog before he is reliable enough to go search? What does it matter who says the dog is ready for a real search mission and when?
Sam: Because there are so many variations of a death, the training is extensive and could take up to a year to have a field ready K9
Mrs Red wrote: THANKS TO SAM for all the great answers and thanks to the MONKEYS for all the great questions…..
We will see Sam again on Thursday.
Good night Sam! Enjoy the game ~
Sam, Thank you so much for taking the time and providing us with some great information. Very much appreciated.
Thank you Monkeys for some great questions.
Once again Sam, thank you and we will see you again Thursday.