BCSDT is a fully-certified search team located in Northeast Ohio with a combined 73 years of experience.  At most search calls, we provide 1-5 K9 teams with field assistants/ground support. In addition to K9 teams, we provide our own radio communications, computer support, mapping software, and live GPS tracking. We also bring enough supplies to sustain our crews for 24 hours.

Each team will efficiently and effectively search a minimum of 80-160 acres in the first shift of 3-4 hours. Teams are managed by a Team Leader (TL) who works closely with search management and incident command.

Our teams are certified in finding both live and deceased subjects located on land or under water, snow, and debris. Teams are proficient at man-tracking, clue awareness, and crime scene preservation.

what we do

meet the team

our training

Big Creek Search Dog Team deploys at the request of local, state, and federal law enforcement; the Governor of Ohio; and relief organizations such as the American Red Cross.

Because we are an independent organization, we are not bound by local jurisdictions. We have the ability to deploy wherever our services are needed - whether that be anywhere in Ohio, or across state lines. 

While deployed, our organization operates strictly under the Incident Command System (ICS). 

When BCSDT is deployed by law enforcement we operate as a function of that agency, and we answer directly to them. However, our organization will never perform criminal law enforcement operations.


our specialties

Trailing teams use a scent article and last known location to follow the subject's route to their current location. They can distinguish their subject's trail among others in the same location. They can even pick out the freshest trail in an area that is "contaminated" with an abundance of the same scent, such as around the subject's house. They work in wilderness, rural, suburban and urban environments. Unlike other working or sporting K9s who are typically trained to track "hot" or fresh trails, SAR dogs can track trails several hours, days, or even weeks old.


Cadaver dogs are trained to detect and indicate the presence of chemicals, gasses, and odors produced when human tissue decomposes. These dogs are able to detect very small quantities of odors. Some K9s are also trained to detect the odor even when the remains are under water.

HRD canines can detect trace evidence of human remains, such as blood on clothing, teeth, or small fragments of bone. Experienced K9s have even been able to alert on buried remains that are hundreds of years old. 

human remains
detection (hrd)

The average German Shepherd has 225 million olfactory (scenting) cells over 6 square inches of nasal area, compared to 5 million olfactory cells over 1 square inch for humans.

Most often, search dogs are of the herding, working, or sporting breeds, or mixtures of these breeds. Common breeds include German Shepherds, hounds, Australian Shepherds, Labradors, Belgian Malinois, and Collies.

Search dogs begin their training between 2 and 18 months of age, and it takes 1 to 2 years of hard work before they are ready to deploy on actual search missions.

The average German Shepherd can differentiate 1.2 million odors, compared to humans who can differentiate approximately 4 thousand different odors.

Good search dogs are energetic, athletic, friendly with humans and other animals, confident, and extremely trainable.

K9 handlers pay thousands of dollars each year for canine care, educational seminars and courses, gear, and equipment.

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