Search Dogs Are Leading the Hunt for More Mudslide Victims in Montecito

The small white border collie with black spots ran up the side of what used to be a roof of a house at Olive Mill and Hot Springs roads with his handler, Capt. Davis Doty of the Orange County Fire Authority. “Kneel!” Doty yelled at Jester. He obeyed.

A Santa Barbara County Fire Department search dog looks for victims in a heavily damaged home in Montecito after a deadly mudslide. (Credit: Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department via Los Angeles Times)

A Santa Barbara County Fire Department search dog looks for victims in a heavily damaged home in Montecito after a deadly mudslide. (Credit: Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department via Los Angeles Times)

For first responders searching through the mud and wreckage, their furry companions become more than just assistants.

“We spend hours every day together, bonding and training,” Doty said. “He’s great.”

Jester is one of eight search-and-rescue dogs scouring the mud and rubble after Tuesday’s deadly mudslide.