Friday, May 24, 2013
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A 2-year-old Rogerson boy, Rudy Kasel, wandered lost for about three hours two miles from home, before being found by Pepper, a 3-year-old black Labrador trained for wildlife detection and human tracking.
Pepper was trained by Jim Stirling, an Idaho Department of Fish and Game senior conservation officer in the Magic Valley. Pepper is certified for article searches and human tracking by the Idaho Police Officer Standards and Training Academy.
Rudy had been playing outside with his sibling when his family realized he was missing about 4 p.m. on Monday, April 30. They called for help after efforts to locate him failed. Rudy's parents initially thought he had wandered away with other family members.
Searchers were concerned because of the approaching darkness and storms forecast for the area.
Stirling received a call at 5 p.m. from the Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office requesting the use of Pepper.
Rudy's father marked the area where he thought he located a possible footprint. By 6 p.m. the search was organized, and Pepper led Stirling through the dry sagebrush for about an hour.
"The dog was struggling in the heat and pollen, so we took a short break to re-hydrate," Stirling said. "The dog looked up, and that's when we saw Rudy's head bobbing in the sagebrush about 100 yards away."
It was just after 7 p.m.
About 30 people from the Twin Falls County Sheriff's office, County Search and Rescue, Fish and Game, and other agencies took part in the search east of Rogerson.