Collinsville K9 Officer Assisting In Joplin Rescue Effort - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Collinsville K9 Officer Assisting In Joplin Rescue Effort

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Daniel Avery's paid job is in the construction business, but he volunteers his time as a K9 officer for the Collinsville Police Department. Daniel Avery's paid job is in the construction business, but he volunteers his time as a K9 officer for the Collinsville Police Department.
Officer Avery's partner, Asko. Officer Avery's partner, Asko.
An American flag flies among the debris in Joplin, Missouri. An American flag flies among the debris in Joplin, Missouri.
© An "X" marks the spot on a home where rescuers have checked for survivors. © An "X" marks the spot on a home where rescuers have checked for survivors.

Lori Fullbright, News On 6

JOPLIN, Oklahoma -- A Collinsville K9 Officer has been in Joplin, searching for survivors and victims and plans to go back. He said it's the worst damage he's ever seen and it's made so much worse because it affected so many people.

5/24/2011 Related Story: Joplin Tornado Death Toll Reaches 118; Deadliest In US Since 1950

Daniel Avery's paid job is in the construction business, but he volunteers his time as a K9 officer for the Collinsville Police Department. Normally, he is doing drug searches or tracking suspects, but Monday, he was in Joplin, searching for tornado victims.

"Around Home Depot and Walmart, there's an apartment complex. We looked through the complex and double checked cars the fire department had looked at," he said.

Daniel has been with his partner Asko for about a year. Asko is from the Czech Republic and even though he's used to working alone, Daniel said Asko did just fine working around other search dogs. There were seven in their team.

"They're trained to turn their head when they see another animal. They get a lot of extensive training in that area, so we didn't have a problem with that," he said.

Another issue can be the myriad of smells in a disaster situation, but, again, that's where the K-9 searchers have an advantage over their human counterparts, who can't filter out different smells.

"There's gases, rotted meat, already, all kinds of smells, but I liken it to smelling a cake. We smell a cake, he can smell all the ingredients," Officer Avery said.

Asko is better suited for live searches, but they did assist in finding victims inside the Walmart and Home Depot and unfortunately, at least 10 fatalities were discovered. After such an emotionally hard day, there was one tiny bright spot.

"We did find a little cat about a week and a half old, didn't even have his eys open. I ended up bringing it home with me," he said.

Officer Avery said they'll go back as often as needed. He said he was impressed how quickly Convoy of Hope and the Red Cross were on the scene helping people.

5/23/2011 Related Story: How To Help Joplin Residents Devastated By Sunday's Deadly Tornado

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