OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Omaha Fire Department has many tools to help them solve an arson case, and one of them comes in the form of man's best friend. Keeping her on the job can be pricey, that's why O.F.D. is asking for donations to help support Alley the arson dog.
Alley is a 4-year-old, Yellow Lab, that came from State Farm's arson dog program. She's been with O.F.D. for a few years now, working with her handler David Sobotka, an Omaha Fire Investigator. "She can search a large room...and in a matter of minutes which might take me an hour or longer to search if I'm checking for an accelerate," says Sobotka. Alley is unique to Nebraska, as she is the only dog trained to help with arson cases in the state.
Alley sits once she smells an accelerate, which alerts Sobotka. "She's a tool to help me to determine if an accelerate such as gasoline, diesel, lighter fluid, those type of things were used to star the fire," says Sobotka.
In order to keep Alley's skills sharp, it comes at a price. Training materials, equipment, and being re-certified every year can be pricey. So O.F.D. is asking for help in regards to Alley since she is funded through donations. "We try not to dip into any department funds to fund our arson dog so we'd like to continue to do that," says Melanie Garrels, Captain of O.F.D.
"Without the support of the public, and without the support of the citizens of Omaha she wouldn't be here right now, and it would definitely hinder some of our investigations and make it tougher for our investigators to pinpoint the cause of the fire," says Sobotka.
If you want to donate, you can do so through the First Responders Foundation, just indicate your donation is for Alley. Their website is firstrespondersomaha.org