Long-time Washoe search and rescue dog remembered

Banshee and handler Mary Cablk. Washoe County Sheriff's Office photo.
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO)-- A Washoe County Sheriff’s Office search-and-rescue dog named Banshee died in January, just before her 14th birthday, the sheriff’s office said Sunday. Banshee had been retired for several years.

“Search dogs are the unseen heroes of countless law enforcement investigations and Search and Rescue missions,” Sheriff Darin Balaam said in a statement. “The nature of their assignments often takes them out of the public spotlight even though their unique sensory skill and attention to detail are essential to our work. Banshee was an important part of our sheriff’s office family and the community should know her story.”

Banshee took part in several missions, including four days searching through mud and water following the 2014 mudslide in Oso, Wash. Banshee found three of the 42 victims; getting recognition by Elk Grove, Calif., in 2012, for finding a young drowning victim in more than 40 feet of water; being the first search and recovery dog certified by Nevada POST for human remains detection; and searching for the remains of aviator and adventurer Steve Fossett after his airplane crashed in the Sierra.

Banshee was born on Jan. 31, 2006 in Dublin, Calif. Mary Cablk, a volunteer member of the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Search and Recovery canine unit, brought her home to Reno and when Banshee was 13 months old they certified together for human remains detection. They worked together and hundreds of missions around the country and in Costa Rica.

“The key to Banshee’s success was her drive,” Cablk said in a statement. “Searching for a needle-in-a-haystack is tiring work but Banshee wouldn’t give up. She would work for long periods of time without losing her focus. She would find specific and important clues that human searchers simply could not find.”

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Banshee. Washoe County Sheriff's Office photo.
Banshee and Mary Cablk. Washoe County Sheriff's Office photo.