LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Dogs trained to sniff out hidden bombs in Afghanistan are now working in the Southland.

KCAL9’s Amy Johnson reports Tula and Ruby are part of a new Countywide Services Division K-9 unit that began last month to sniff out explosive devices.

Guided by their handlers, the dogs watch over public places and large events.

“She is incredible. She has a great nose,” L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputy Danny Cassese said of his four-legged partner, Ruby.

“If there is an explosive out there, she’ll find it.”

Ruby, a black Labrador Retriever, served in Afghanistan, running ahead of convoys searching for improvised explosive devices.

“She found actual explosives, actual IEDs,” Cassese said.

Tula is Deputy Guillermo Loza’s first K-9.

“She is training me,” he said. “She definitely knows a lot more than me.”

“She has been in the Marine Corps. She has that experience – deployed to Afghanistan three different times and found over 50 IEDs,” Loza said.

“She is my partner. That’s what we are. She is not my dog. She is my partner.”

Tula and Ruby are among a group of Marine K-9s returning from service as a result of the U.S. cutting back on the number of dogs in the unit, which recently shrank from 480 to 180.

With those deployments come injuries.

“She sustained shrapnel injuries and has PTSD,” Loza said of Tula.

“Anytime there’s a loud noise, whether it’s gunfire or some kind of explosive, she does freak out a little bit. But she is overcoming that,” he said.

Guillermo and Cassese both say the county is safer with their K-9s in it.


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