Rıza Özel – ANKARA
A cadaver dog in the Ankara fire department named Boomer can track traces of blood in human remains even many years after the person has died, setting him apart from seven other friends who have been similarly trained to detect decomposing bodies. This helps authorities enlighten judicial cases otherwise impossible through human efforts.
“Boomer has returned with success in every incident he has been actively deployed in. I cannot openly indicate due to ongoing judicial processes, but in one case, he found the vehicle the corpse was carried in and the person confessed to their crime. In another case, it determined that the corpse of a child, said to be missing, was buried in the backyard of a relative,” one of the dog training experts of the Ankara fire department, Dinçer Gülbağ, told daily Hürriyet.
“If you are looking for such a dog, you have be picky. Some 96 dogs in 13 countries abroad were tested. [Boomer] was selected among the dogs able to find his mother’s breasts first [the Campbell test]. We have taken seven of them for training. Six of them have been raised and given to different institutions. But for the most difficult jobs, we have preferred Boomer. He came from Germany when he was only three to four months old. All of his training has been completed here. He is a very smart dog,” Gülbağ said.
The dog training expert said they had recently undertaken work to have Boomer search for submerged bodies in water. “In a short time, we target to locate corpses even after they are 12 meters under water. This is very important for us, because this will put a stop to research that takes days, even months, in waters with zero visibility range. This is not an initiation that has many examples in the world. About five to six months later, Boomer will be among the first in the world,” Gülbağ said.
Boomer, of the Belgian Malionis breed, has been raised in a joint project with the Ankara Forensic Medicine Institution, the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality Fire Department Head Celil Sipahi told daily Hürriyet.
In forensic cases, “Boomer’s distinctness emerges,” Sipahi said. “When a corpse is said, a full body comes to mind, but Boomer can find the corpse even after it has been decomposed and a few years have passed by. Or, he can find an item belonging to that person thrown in the forest with blood on it,” he said.
“Of course, there are also accidents in which you have to reach a piece of the body as soon as possible, for example traffic accidents, or when an organ or a finger detaches as a result of a work accident. Boomer easily handles this search job that would take hours for us under normal conditions and that may not even lead to a result. We compete with time in such cases. [Boomer] is a part of our family,” Sipahi said.