Rescue Dogs in Iran
سگهای نجات و امداد در ایران
Although Iran lies in an earthquake belt extending from Turkey to the Himalayas, but before 1979 Rescue Dogs never been used for discovering people under rubble.
Avalanche especially in Alborz mountain, is another yearly nature disasters in Iran. In 1975, the Secretary of State for the Shah's Office requested the assistance of a Dutchman trainer in Iran, named: "Ingo Schnabel" to help establish a specialist canine mountain rescue unit for the Imperial Iranian Air Force. German Shepherds were brought by the Shah from Switzerland in order to start different dog projects. The Air force had a camp near avalanche area in the Alborz Mountain, but that Army camp was under heavy security and photographing was not allowed. What happened to this program we surely don't know, but at least we know that in February 1977 Two trained dogs were brought from Germany for finding and rescue of one American boy that got lost in "Tucahl" heights of Alborz mountain.
According to one evidence of an Iranian soldier from 1984, dogs were used by Iranian goverment as discovers of people during the missiles attacks of Iraqis on the Iranian town of Dezful in the early years of war (1980-81). But this evidence is not credible and it's not sure if these dogs were using but Iranians or they were as a foreign help for Iran.
On June 21st, 1990 A 7.7 Earthquake rolled through northwestern Iran at 12:30 A.M. The earthquake killed an estimated 50,000 people, injuring 200,000, and leaving 500,000 homeless. Within days after the quake, French rescue workers used trained dogs to search for victims. On Wensday MAY 12, 1997 - at least 4000 people died in villages around Qaen, Birjand and two in Khavaf during a 7.1 earthquake that struck Saturday near the town of Qaen, 70 miles west of the Afghan border. Switzerland sent a rescue team and trained dogs to help search for survivors, although Iran turned down an offer of a larger contingent.
In some Big Earthquake events Islamic regime of Iran turned down the French offers for sending trained dogs, since dog is considers as "najes" (Impure) in Islam.
11 August, 2001 - The first offecial report of using Rescue Dogs by Iranian trainers back to August 11, 2001, during the Devastating floods in Golestan Province, in northern Iran. Search dogs with trainers of Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) were dispatched to look for survivors buried under the rubble. 4 teams of sniffer dogs ( each team having 5 dogs) were mobilized early in the morning of August 11 to this area.
22 June, 2002 - A powerful earthquake flattened nearly 100 remote mountain villages in in Ghazvin province (300 kilometers southwest of Tehran) killing at least 500 people, injuring more than 1,600 and leaving thousands homeless. Iranian Red Crescent members with specially trained dogs were sent to this area to help recover bodies.
28 May 2004 - 133 villages were reported by rescue and relief organization of the Iranian Red Crescent Society to have been damaged ranging from 30 to 80 percent by the strong earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale in there provinces Mazandaran, Ghazvin, and Tehran. According to the report received from rescue and relief organization of Iranian Red Crescent, teams equipped with sniffer dogs dispatched to Mazandaran and Ghazvin.
9 December 2004 - Red Crescent relief and rescue workers with 2 search dogs were sent to Bushehr province (Gonaveh city and Tangestan) to help the local people who surrounded by the Flood.
22 February 2005 - 8 teams of search and rescue dogs as well as a number of mountain climbing teams have been sent to the quake hit region of Zarand, northwest Kerman Province, by helicopters.
It seems that there are 2 main groups of Rescue dogs in Iran. The Iranian Red Crescent Society and the Iranian Air-Force Dog unite. All of these unites have German Shepherds, except the Red Crescent of Ardebil that has some local mix-breed dogs.