Local rescue team used dogs to search for buried victims in Montecito

SAN DIEGO -- An Urban Search and Rescue team that assisted in searching for victims of the mudslides in Montecito returned to San Diego Thursday.

Decker and Stella, two Labrador retrievers, have been trained to rescue people in disaster situations. But their recent job in Santa Barbara County was one of the toughest ones yet. For five days, the two dogs helped search through collapsed buildings and canyons for live victims who survived the mudslides.

"Our dogs -- we can have someone buried 20, 30, 40 feet down -- and they can actually alert to that, and then we can start the process to get down to them," Capt. Captain Matthew Kirk said.

Normally, regular search team takes hours to clear disaster zones, but this K-9 team got the job done in minutes.

"We didn't find any live victims unfortunately but we left knowing that if there were any, we would have found them," Capt. Brent Brainard said

The team says rescue K-9s usually work until they're about 10 years old before they can retire.