The Western Cadaver Dog Association (WCDA) was founded in 2018 by a group of experienced search dog handlers who share a passion for canine search and recovery. We believe in providing professional, certified canine human remains detection teams to assist law enforcement, authorities, and families. Our goal is to assist in the location of missing individuals; to aid in providing closure to their families and loved ones.
Because of the incredible design of the dog's nose, they have been proven to be an asset in locating human remains; helping to speed the recovery of missing persons and bring closure to families. As the odor of human remains is unique from that of deceased animals or vegetation, our cadaver dogs are trained to alert us to presence of human remains only. We train our canines to find full/intact bodies as well as evidence of human remains, for both recent and historical cases.
Each of our canine teams consist of a NAPWDA certified cadaver dog and a handler. All of our canines are single-purpose meaning that they are trained in cadaver dog profile only. We have found that cross-training dogs for both live find and cadaver decreases the effectiveness and consistency of canine teams and thus focus solely on the cadaver dog profile. Our canine teams are often assisted by support personnel such as spotters, boat operators, and sonar operators.
We believe canine search and recovery should approached with an exceptional degree of care and professionalism. This guiding belief means that all of our canine teams meet the highest standards of certification prior to being eligible to deploy. A Master Trainer from the North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA) assess our canine teams on an annual basis and awards certification to only the teams that have met the standards required for the Cadaver Dog Profile. By having our teams certified by an external agency, we are able to ensure that they are assessed by a non-biased individual ensuring that only teams who meet the rigorous NAPWDA standards manage to obtain certification.
Each of our canine teams are proud members of the North American Police Work Dog Association (or NAPWDA). NAPWDA was founded in 1977 with their stated goal, "Dedicated to assisting work dog teams throughout the world". Along with certifying our teams, our association with NAPWDA gives us access to a large network of other NAPWDA K9 handlers, Trainers, and Master Trainers as well as educational and training resources. We collaborate, work, and train with these professionals extending our pool of resources well beyond that of our own organization. For more information about NAPWDA, please visit their website.