We have a close liaison with the Dog Section of Lincolnshire Police, who oversee and assess our training. Home Office Approved Instructors assess us and our dogs annually and, as far as we are aware, we are one of a small number of civilian groups to have achieved this unique status in Great Britain.
We are called out by Lincolnshire Police on a regular basis and this can be at any time, day or night. On several occasions we have also assisted Humberside Police to locate missing persons, but we normally only cover Lincolnshire.
We have both licensed, which are fully operational, and novice/trainee dogs at various stages of training. Our dogs are first and foremost family pets, although they tend to be from the working breeds. Many breeds of dog could be trained to search as they all have excellent scenting abilities, but the working breeds in general have more drive and stamina.
More often than not the person we are looking for has left the area long ago but we can at least eliminate areas from the search. On one occasion we were searching for a missing lady last seen in West Lincolnshire who was located at Kings Cross Station. However, we have been successful in locating the missing person on several occasions.
We do get some strange call outs as well On one occasion we spent all night searching a town in East Lincolnshire looking for a 91 year old man reported missing since 4.30pm that day. We later discovered he had been dead 20 years – the persons who reported him missing both suffered with Alzheimer’s Disease and genuinely believed he had gone out only that day. We also spent a couple of hours searching for a missing gentleman from a nursing home, only to be told later he was still in it! Then there was the time when we had been given the name of a young man with learning difficulties. We spent the night looking for him only to find that he had given his two Christian names as his full name and had been tucked up in hospital all night. Unfortunately one of our members was the ambulance driver who took him to hospital while his wife was out searching!
Louth Search Dogs was formed to provide a free, voluntary, passive searching service to the community of Lincolnshire, to back up the Police when searching for missing persons.
Our dogs can cover a large area of ground in a short space of time and as there are often only two or three Police dogs on duty at anyone time, mobilising six or seven of our dogs within an hour can be a great help in saving lives when time is often of the essence.