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Rescue & Recovery Dogs Find Hidden Dangers During Search

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A non-venomous bull snake bit a search dog along the Big Thompson River in Loveland (credit: CBS)

A non-venomous bull snake bit a search dog along the Big Thompson River in Loveland (credit: CBS)

LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4)- Search and rescue crews are scouring the massive flood zone in Larimer County. Teams of rescue and recovery dogs are also searching and finding out just how dangerous it can be searching in a disaster area.

Those dogs are searching along the banks of the Big Thompson River in Loveland.

On Thursday eight search dogs and their handlers started searching along the banks of the river when one dog came across some wildlife and was bitten by a snake.

“She got bit by a snake, ” said Squad Officer Kurt Doolady. “That’s a rattler, it’s a rattler.”

During search operations in Loveland a snake punctured the paw of a female black Labrador Retriever.

The threat of a rattle snake was quelled by closer inspection. Instead the culprit was a non-venomous bull snake.

“Didn’t seem to be significant but obviously any bit of contact with nature it’s serious enough that we’ve transported the animal to veterinarian care,” said Doolady.

It’s just one example of what can happen in flood zone search operations.

K-9 search teams from Missouri, Nevada and in Loveland are teaming up to help in the search and recovery of flood victims.

“With all of the water flow it’s upset the normal wildlife. A lot of ground animals that have been displaced there are as confused as anybody else with all the water,” said Doolady.

The search crews are covering about eight miles per day and they have a lot of work ahead of them.

“It’s very tough, the mud is very thick. Each boot weighs five pounds with the mud on there and we’re hiking many miles per day,” said Doolady.

This is the first incident of an injury with search crews in the flood zone in Colorado so far.

One dog did suffer some heat exhaustion and another twisted an ankle but it’s the first time a search dog received emergency medical attention.

The dog was recovering on Thursday evening and will be ready to get back to work on Friday.

Colorado Floods: How To Help

The recent floods are impacting families and communities throughout Colorado, so CBS4 has compiled a list of ways you can support the local communities impacted by the floods.

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