Our References  
 

 

Harry Oakes was issued State of Oregon and State of Washington SAR Certification cards through Skamania County, Washington, Clark County, Washington, Polk County, and Clackamas County, Oregon as well as with Portland Mountain Rescue.

Here's what a State SAR Card looks like.

 


Steve Windsor Interviewer:
 
My exclusive interview with Mr. Harry Oakes from Portland, Oregon. 2004.
 
Over the years I’ve interviewed Presidents of countries, multimillionaires, and yes-even housewives. One of the most interesting interviews I had was in 2004 when I talked with the dog handler from Portland, Oregon who located Ashley Pond buried under cement on Ward Weaver’s property in Oregon City, Oregon in 2002.
 
I have found that by nature some folks are jealous of other people’s successes. So in turn, they badmouth those who are successful in hopes it will boost their own ego. They forget that some people fight back. One such person is Harry Oakes. He doesn’t get physical though he is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, he fights back with documented facts. I must say, I’ve reviewed his records and they are well documented and support all of his statements.
 
I interviewed Harry while he was getting ready to do a story for a TV show on NBC and we talked in great length about Harry’s success in 36 years of SAR work around the world.
 
Over the years Harry Oakes has had many roles. 12 years as a police officer, 25 years as K9 SAR instructor combined with 10 years as a mountain rescue instructor, and the list goes on and on. He’s been an EMT during 25 of those years, he’s volunteered for 15 years for the American Red Cross. He teaches children and adults how to stay safe in the wilderness, on the city streets, and prepare for disasters such as earthquakes. He’s been a guide with the Mazamas, he’s taught through OMSI, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. He’s been hired by numerous professional firms around the world to lecture on safety. Numerous governments have brought him in on their disasters to coordinate and work the scene.
 
Harry you have many folks who just don’t like you. Why is that?
 
Harry; I’ve seen some folks who are simply jealous of our success and over the last 25 years have repeatedly tried to attack my credibility and my team’s success. They have done this by going through the media, TV, radio talk shows, and through the newspapers and giving out ONE SIDED - misinformation. 
 
Fact: Over the last 25 years, each time we’ve performed a search mission, we document, the date, location, our contact information, time involved and our findings. Our reports and files have held up under close review by the;
 
Oregon Dept. of Justice who did a three-year investigation and found absolutely no criminal wrong doing on my part nor did I ever have to pay any fines. They in fact helped me develop the first for profit K9 SAR Dog team in the nation.
 
The I.R.S. who audited my records, and found my records were in order and credible.
 
The FBI who have used our services around the world. You can bet if I wasn’t credible or if my team wasn’t credible we never ever would have been involved in their searches in the Federal Building explosion in Oklahoma as well as the kidnapping and homicide investigation of Claudia Kirchoch in Jamaica.
 
Other Government agencies have used us successfully around the world to determine what really happened to a specific missing person missing in on foreign soil.
 
Interviewer: What other governmental agencies are you talking about?
 
Harry; In the interests of National security, I’d rather not list them but just say, Govt. agencies and leave it at that. Foreign governments such as the Island of St Croix USVI, Honduras, Dominican Republic and Turkey are just some of the countries we’ve assisted.
 
Several courts though out the nation that have used me to testify as an expert witness and reviewed my credentials before I gave testimony to establish my credibility. I testified as an expert in the field of Search and Rescue, K9 search dog training, training, testing, and working a search dog. Finding lost persons, scent, scent evidence, and working disasters, kidnappings and homicides. I’ve had many attorneys over the years contact me for consulting purposes regarding my expert opinion on scent, search dogs and animals in general. Capturing, training, how scent works, etc.
 
Interviewer: So what do you have to say to those folks in the media and other searchers who have bad mouthed your efforts to help people during their time of need?
 
Harry; Put up or shut the hell up. I’m sick and tired of their B.S. The Court system accepts my credibility and credentials. That’s all that matters. That and my documented successes.
 
Interviewer: Why are all these folks angry with you?
 
Harry; Because I find the missing when they can’t. It makes them look bad. It’s so easy to sit back and armchair quarterback over 7,534 missions. In the last 25 years. When someone attacks me, they attack my search dogs, my other team members, and all of our efforts so I do take this personally.
 
We have never seen one single person from any one of these SAR or law enforcement agencies, who have bad mouthed our unit, and myself, spend their own money, risk their own lives, to crawl through a collapsed destroyed building in the U.S.A. or in a foreign country, looking for the live and the dead victims of earthquakes, bombings, floods, fires, or other disasters which we've responded to around the world.
 
We’ve never seen one of these individuals from N.A.S.A.R., Ca. Ore., and Washington SAR Council, who continue to bad mouth our efforts, wading through the hot steamy snake, and crocodile infested jungles, in the Philippines, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Haiti, St Thomas, St Croix, USVI, and Jamaica, looking for missing victims. Yet we’ve been there. And we were successful in our searches there. Again all documented.
 
We’ve never seen any of these folks in the flood-ravaged lands of Honduras, Haiti, and the Pacific NW looking for drowning victims. Yet we’ve documented our assistance in Armenia, Philippines, Northridge, Turkey, Jamaica, and in over seven thousand other search missions around the world.
 
Interviewer: Who is we?
Harry; At one point I’ve had over 65 team members. One dog one handler makes up a team. Currently I have 40 active team members attached to International K9 Search and Rescue Services. We have doctors, senators, lawyers, nurses, paramedics, house wives, house dads, people from all walks of life have joined our teams. I’ve trained over 6,500 search dog handlers and their dogs around the world. Each one has been successful in SAR.
 
Interviewer: Harry you say in your web site “To date, there has been no factual documented proof of any criminal wrong-doing by you or your team members. Nothing produced to support anyone's statements of any wrong doing by You or your team members, by any law enforcement agency or SAR group”. Have you ever been arrested and charged for any criminal action of any kind?
 
Harry; Nothing what so ever. I’ve received one speeding ticket 25 years ago and two parking tickets. That’s it.
 
In fact, we have hundred’s of letters from Law enforcement, government agencies, including three from former Presidents of the USA and one from former President Aquino of the Philippines expressing their gratitude to our abilities in helping others in their time of need. We’ve received many letters of thanks from the families of the victims as well.
 
Interviewer: Harry you have heard the verbal and written attacks against you personally. Many Sheriff’s in the state of Oregon and Washington have made comments such as "Harry’s a controversial figure in Oregon in regards to SAR work". Why are you so controversial?
 
Harry; my attorney and myself have asked the various Sheriff’s and SAR Groups to produce one single document showing factual information regarding their statements to back up their statements. In over 38 years of looking for missing people and 25 years working with the search dogs, while we’ve been providing service to the Sheriff’s departments and to the private public sector, we have yet to see a single piece of written documentation to support any of their statements. Nothing at all.
 
We can produce hundreds of letters and reports in support of everything we’ve said and done. When we ask the sheriff’s and other K-9 teams involved to contact our references that support what we’ve done, they never have. Instead they would rather just continue to verbally sit back on their hindquarters and verbally attack us, to try to make them look better and less incompetent.
 
This after we repeatedly enter the search privately on behalf of the victim(s) families and find the missing victim(s) in the original search areas where the sheriff's teams failed to find the missing person(s). This destroys the sheriff's and Volunteer K-9's credibility, not ours. Again it’s all documented.
 
Interviewer: So do you think this an ego issue?



Harry; Yes. HONESTLY. Every time I've been investigated regarding my search and rescue services and my successes, it's been found that I've been 100% truthful. I've even taken and passed a polygraph on this matter. (See the 1998 D.O.J. Audit and I.R.S. Audit reports). The IRS, DOJ, FBI, NSA, and CIA have checked us out. We continue to be proven credible beyond reproach.
 
Interviewer; You say you are “Courtroom Proven”. Which courts?
 
The courtrooms in Clark and Multnomah County have in the past openly accepted our training, testing, certification process and our documentation. We've obtained several search warrants based on our abilities and results and also given expert testimony in the courts of law regarding scent, scent evidence, search dogs, and search and rescue. Again I’ll say, “If it’s good enough for the courts, it ought to be good enough to the local law enforcement”.
 
TESTING. My documented searches and success qualifies me as an expert in the courtroom regarding scent, scent evidence, search dogs, search dog training, testing and certification. We are one of 200 search and rescue K-9 teams that is a self-testing dog team. We’re not doing anything different, then the other 200 search dog teams in the USA and Canada. (See the 1997 national survey). Yet we don’t see the other K-9 teams testing and standards under attack by the OSSA. (Oregon State Sheriff’s Association). Why is that?
 
Interview; I’m asking you then, Harry why is this?
 
Harry; It's because we get results when the O.S.S.A. teams have failed repeatedly. This makes them look bad. See copies of the Eli Kelt, Dela Carlson, Ashley Pond, and Miranda Gaddis search reports for examples. “Dateline special “Into Thin Air” segment regarding Ward Weaver and Ashley Pond murder case in Oregon City, Oregon.
 
We feel it’s because the O.S.S.A., (Oregon State Sheriff’s Association) wants everyone to believe their tester is honest, reliable, and credible.
 
If that’s the case then, why is it documented that we’ve gone in after the O.S.S.A. has called off their official search, after they have used their O.S.S.A. State Certified SAR Dog teams, and they’ve found nothing, yet we found the victim(s) in their original search areas? Dela Carlson, Brian Harris, Eli Kelt, Ashley Pond, Scott Spangle Jr. who are just some of the dead victims listed that we found their remains when the O.S.S.A. teams couldn’t in the original search areas.
 
One embarrassing example is the 2002 Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis search in Oregon City, where the O.S.S.A. teams and even their state tester with his dog Marty Neiman, and the FBI teams repeatedly went onto the suspect’s property (Ward Weaver) and searched several suspicious areas. They repeatedly reported that their teams had found nothing, even after drilling holes and pumping warm air under a concrete slab the O.S.S.A. teams stated publicly to the media, Portland Tribune and the Oregonian Newspaper, "There's nothing under the slab".
 
In March 2002, I with my SAR Dog Valorie, entered the search on behalf of Lori, Ashley’s mother. I donated my time and efforts for the search for  Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis. I documented finding Ashley's buried remains under the concrete slab and Miranda Gaddis in Wards lay down freezer in Ward Weaver’s kitchen March 30, 2002.
 
I immediately forwarded my reports to the FBI, OCPD, and to the victim’s families. This verified by MSNBC Dateline TV Producer Shane Bishop and Keith Morrison Interviewer for NBC.
 
In Aug. 2002, the FBI finally dug up Ashley's remains under public pressure and, right where my SAR dog Valorie indicated, they found Ashley remains. Between March 2002 and Aug 2002, Ward Weaver moved Miranda’s remains to a shed. The police did verify that the murdered victim’s remains had been in the freezer where SAR Dog Valorie had shown me where they were at the time of their search in March 2002.
 
If this doesn't prove my SAR Dogs credibility beyond reproach, what does? SAR Dog  Val indicated and I reported there was a body under the concrete slab. The FBI dug up said body 5 months later right were we located it during our private search.
 
We’ve repeatedly documented entering the search after the O.S.S.A. has called their efforts off and we’ve repeatedly either found the victim, or found out what had happened to the victim, in the original search areas. Now whose credibility is really on the line here the O.S.S.A. K-9 teams, or ours? We’ve found every person we’ve looked for or have determined what really happened to them and the suspect(s) involved in their disappearance. (This verified by our reports and the local police reports).
 
With the POND / Gaddis case, I demanded the O.S.S.A. remove their Ore. state certification process, reevaluate it, and accept N.A.S.A.R. (National Association for Search and Rescue) SAR Dog standards which I.K.9.S.A.R.S. Teams along with 200 other National teams use as a guideline. As of this writing, the O.S.S.A. Standards are no longer credible and the O.S.S.A. Certification process is under revision. We were informed that their state tester has been removed from his role thanks to my team’s efforts.
 
Interviewer: Harry some search folks have accused you of showing up on a search uninvited?
 
Harry; Again I’ve asked these folks who have made these statements to come forward with DOCUMENTED PROOF of what they are saying. In 38 years of looking for missing persons and 24 years with the K9 units, “no one has been able to provide one single piece of paper to back up their statements”.
I’ve never done that and never will. It’s unprofessional.
 
Interviewer; You’ve been attacked by the local paper. What that all about?
 
Harry; BAD PR, THE LOCAL MEDIA IS GUILTY ALSO. The local media has a responsibility to show both sides of each issue. Yet they have failed miserably in doing this. Every time a statement is made against I.K.9.S.A.R.S. or myself personally. They print it or discuss it on the TV, on the radio, or in the newspaper. Yet when I and others have brought forth documented proof to dispute their statements made against me or my team members, the media has failed to provide their readers and viewers with both sides of the issues.
 
Interviewer; Can you give me an example of what you are talking about?
 
Example: We’ve responded to Turkey, Honduras, Jamaica, St. Croix USVI., and the Dominican Republic. There are no stories done by the local media on any of those missions. Yet whenever the other K-9 teams do a search, the media is all over their actions in a positive action. Look at the coverage NW Medical teams got for responding to the same sites where we’ve responded. Is this fair?
 
The Portland Tribune and Gresham Outlook finally became frustrated with the local law enforcement and SAR team’s lack of results on the Ward Weaver case. And the one sided articles written by the Oregonian newspaper.
 
When I proved to the FBI and OCPD and to the media that my search dog teams were right all along on the POND / GADDIS search, these newspapers came forward and wrote the facts about the case to expose the attempted cover up by unethical dog handlers from the State of Oregon.
 
The law enforcement teams continue to tell the media, "Oh the bodies were moved" and "weren't there when the O.S.S.A. teams searched Wards property". Now you tell me how do you move a body buried in a barrel under four feet of rocks, dirt and concrete?
 
Even Wards son admitted his father Ward had killed both girls and buried Ashley right where my SAR Dog Valorie and I located her remains under the concrete.
 
Here’s an example of the one sided reporting done by the Daily News in Longview, Wa.
Pat, the one-sided idiot reporter, only covers the Sheriff’s statements and Marty’s statements. But if you look at the documented facts, it shows that I told the truth the whole time. So where’s the fairness here? Let’s examine their statements and my responses.
Then you make an informed decision.
 
Checkered past follows search and rescue worker to Longview
By Pat Forgey
Mar 24, 2005 - 07:46:00 am PST

“It was the stuff of a hero story: Harry E. Oakes and his search dog, Valorie, finding Honduran flooding victims following Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

The Longview dog handler and his canine partner were among the search teams featured Sunday on "Storm Stories," the Weather Channel top-rated show.

In the show, firefighters in Honduras praised teams such as Oakes and Valorie for their rescue work and for taking their dogs to a local orphanage to cheer up traumatized children.

Despite the favorable portrayal, and Oakes' recent move to the local area, Oakes is persona non grata in local search and rescue circles. Officials say they're wary of Oakes' checkered financial past and his claimed record of success.”
 
(HERE THE REPORTER SUGGESTS WRONG DOING REGARDING “FINANCIAL PAST and CLAIMED RECORD OF SUCCESS” Yet when I’ve been audited by the IRS and DOJ, my records were acceptable to these investigating agencies. So if I passed their scrutiny, then where’s the problem here?   
                                                  
"He is no longer eligible to do search and rescue in Cowlitz County, like in a number of other areas," said Art Jordan, volunteer coordinator for Cowlitz County Search and Rescue and member of the state's Emergency Management Council.

What Art failed to state in this article was that I have been personally hired by Cowlitz County SAR to teach their SAR team’s rope rescue on several occasions and have been involved in numerous searches with their agency before I went private.
 
Art failed to note that I was removed from the Washington SAR resource list after I filed a written complaint to the Governor’s office, against the Skamania County SAR Coordinator, for his actions where he repeatedly used poor judgment, that we can prove cost several innocent people their lives. Now why didn’t Art want that information to come out?

”Oakes, 49, acknowledges that county sheriffs who head up search and rescue operations often don't like him, but that's because his work is so good.

"Sheriffs often get upset when we come in and find people they can't," he said in an interview last week.

Oakes claims to have found the bodies of Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis, two Oregon City girls murdered by neighbor Ward Weaver in 2002, but others dispute that.

"Nobody used him in Oregon City, because he's not reliable," said Marty Neiman, with Search One K-9 Detection, an Oregon nonprofit called in by authorities investigating the case.”



This statement coming from the very same man who told the FBI and OCPD there wasn’t a body under the concrete slab. Marty Neiman the state of Oregon’s certification tester? This from the very same person who has over the years repeatedly gone on talk shows and bad-mouthed Harry every chance he gets to make himself look better. Shame on you Marty. You make yourself look bad by not finding the victims in the original search area in the first place.

”Neiman said Oakes showed up on the scene and volunteered his services but was not used in the official search. In a later, unofficial search, Oakes' search results were so general as to be useless, Neiman said.”



Marty states my “search results were to general”. My report states my search dog gave a death alert where the concrete slab meets the ground right behind Ward Weaver’s house. How more precise can I get?
 
In the end, I was 100% correct in reading my dog’s alerts. Marty was 100% wrong. Whose credibility is really under attack here? Not mine. I’ve repeatedly found victims in the original search areas where Marty and his teams told the sheriff’ there was no victim to be found. Now why can our teams go in and find the victim dead when Marty and his teams can’t?
 
”Oakes runs International K-9 Search and Rescue Services, a for-profit organization, a rarity in search and rescue circles. In fact, Oakes describes his company as "the only for-profit K-9 search and rescue in the nation."

He typically charges $200 an hour for staging and searching, as well as $25 an hour for travel time, according to his website. He said much of his work is searching for pets, which Oakes said can be more profitable than searching for people.

"People won't hesitate paying for a dogs or cat," he said. "People generally won't pay you to search for their missing child."

Cowlitz County Coroner Mike Nichols, a former Search and Rescue coordinator for the county, said volunteer search and rescue crews don't agree with the concept of for-profit search and rescue services.

"Other than Harry Oakes, I don't know of anybody else who hires out to distraught families and promises to find their kin," Nichols said.”
 
Why doesn’t Mike tell the reporter how much he gets paid for looking for missing persons with the Sheriff’s office? Why is that so different? Why does the National park system and the state of Oregon along with several other states possess the laws that allow them to CHARGE for search and rescue services?

”Nichols said Cowlitz County's search and rescue volunteers will look for anyone who is missing and don't ask for payment. Volunteers tend to spend a lot of their own money on equipment, training and transportation. "We only work as volunteers here," he said.”
 
Again, what Nichols is forgetting to tell everyone is that, he’s paid, so why is that different? I’ve been through the Law Enforcement academies, taught SAR for Polk, Morrow, Clark and Skamania Counties. Is Nichols afraid of the competition?

”Nichols and Jordan said Oakes' reputation in Oregon preceded him when he came to Washington from Portland a year ago.

"He wasn't welcome within search camps within his own state," Nichols said.
 
What Nichols and Jordon forget to say, is;
 
1). Polk and Clackamas Counties in Oregon. Clark and Skamania Counties in Washington, along with the National Park Services, used my search dog teams on a regular basis from 1986 to 1994.
 
2). ”I wasn’t welcome within search camps within his own state of Oregon” only after I testified against the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association on House Bill 3093, where I testified on the mismanagement of SAR in Oregon that have cost lives. I was told by Lt Neil James that,” if I testified against the OSSA at the HB hearing, I would never be used by the O.S.S.A. again”.
 
I testified and told the truth. The Oregon State Police, The Oregon Mountain Rescue Council, the Oregon Fire Fighters Association all supported me in my efforts on HB 3093. Trying to update SAR laws in the state of Oregon which hadn’t been updated since 1974. Because of my testimony, the O.S.S.A. refuses to use my services because I made them look bad in the OREGON SENATE.

In Oregon, Oakes formerly was with Mountain Wilderness Search Dogs and Help Us Find You, Inc., which both were registered as nonprofit organizations. In the late 1990s, both came under investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice, which claimed that Oakes was using the nonprofits as a tax dodge.”
 
If that’s true then why have I been audited by the IRS and came out clean, and have tax records to prove it? We have tax records to show this is an untrue statement. I pay my taxes like everyone else.

"He uses M.W.S.D. and H.U.F.Y. to avoid paying taxes by virtue of their tax-exempt status," the department said in a 1997 court settlement with Oakes”.
 
There was no criminal or civil charges thus no court settlement, so where does he get his information? This is all public record.



”At the time, the agency said, Oakes did not have a personal bank account and used the nonprofits' accounts as his own, paying his personal and living expenses out of them”.
 
That’s not true. It was my business account under my name that showed all payments in and out for M.W.S.D.. Why don’t they discuss how my records proved that I paid for all of the non profit phone bills, electrical bills, office supplies, postage, and every cent brought in and spent out was accounted for? They won’t say this because it destroys THEIR Credibility.



”The department signed an order with Oakes forbidding him to represent himself as a charity of any kind or representing his professional locating services as a public service.”
 
The department also helped me start my for profit business, at their suggestion.



”Oakes said he was cleared by the investigation. We came out squeaky clean," he said. "There was no criminal action brought against us."

The department did require Oakes to pay $7,500, but suspended the fine on the condition he not violate the order. Oakes said the fine was never imposed.
 
The DOJ records prove that I was telling the truth.

More inquiries

An Oregon Justice Department concern involved Oakes' search for bodies at the site of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

The agency said Mountain Wilderness received a $4,000 donation from a canine club in Oklahoma. Oakes immediately was reimbursed for $3,000 in "expenses" he claimed but failed to document, according to the justice department.
 
This isn’t true at all. What I did was totally legal per M.W.S.D. non profit bylaws.  The reimbursement was for money M.W.S.D. owed me for the past year. For the bills I paid out of my own account. Again all money coming in and leaving M.W.S.D. was accounted for with receipts. Every single penny was accounted for. Ask the DOJ. They can validate my statements. They did the audit and said ,”my record keeping was remarkable”.



”Oakes later started International K-9 Search and Rescue Services, his current for-profit company. The 1997 agreement between Oakes and state of Oregon bars him from charging anyone for services if he has volunteered in the search for the same victim.

Oakes, who answers his phone "search and rescue," said he is careful to make it clear to potential clients that he is not with a government agency.”



That’s correct because we’re a professional agency that provides experience professional services.
 
“The Weather Channel program made no mention of Oakes' for-profit status, but it did note that he and a fellow dog handler had to pay their own way to Honduras. Contributions were not sought on the program.”



Gee, they finally told some truth in this report. We’ve paid for our own transportation in the Northridge, Honduras, Philippine, Turkey earthquakes along with the Oklahoma City Bombing disaster.
 
“Weather Channel spokeswoman Kathy Lane said Oakes' business dealings were unrelated to its program. "That would have nothing to do with the story we portrayed," she said. Lane said Towers Productions Inc. of Chicago produces Storm Stories under contract. Towers officials were unavailable for comment.

In addition to questions about Oakes' financial dealings, search and rescue officials have doubts about the quality of Oakes' search work, said Cowlitz County Sheriff's Deputy Chuck Dunnavant, the county's search and rescue coordinator.

"He'll point to a spot on the river and say 'He drowned right there,' and there's no way to prove it," Dunnavant said.”



Why doesn’t Chuck ad that his own dive team verified our search dogs findings in front of the victim’s families? At the time of our search, where the divers were told the victims had drowned in 80 feet of swift current water, the divers found the victims boat and other gear. This after they failed to find anything before our arrival. Oops, if Chuck told that truth, it may discount his statement.

”While with Mountain Wilderness, Oakes participated in high-profile search for two Longview men, Larry Mansur and Dennis Svoboda, who were missing and presumed dead after a boating accident on the Columbia River off Cowlitz County in 1996.

During the hunt, Oakes told officials that Valorie had found the spot where they died, Nichols said. Months later, one of the bodies was found upriver from that spot, leading local search and rescue personnel to doubt the validity of Oakes "find."

"I've never heard of a body going upstream," Nichols said.”
 
Mr. Nichols isn’t a very educated man in regards to water, water currents, and bodies. Otherwise he never would have made such a stupid statement. Bodies have repeatedly been documented moving down stream and upstream with tidal current influences, as well as heavy ship traffic, that can trap a victim and carry them for miles under their drag loads.
Some bodies have been discovered up to 20 miles away from the site where they drowned due to ship traffic.
 
THE OSSA tester and tests aren’t credible. We allowed the O.S.S.A. Tester to test us on the O.S.S.A. K-9 standards. This after the tester openly bragged on the "LARS LARSON RADIO TALK SHOW" that, "he would see that Harry would never pass his tests".  This statement was documented and is on file with MOBA MEDIA.
 
When I took the O.S.S.A. K-9 test, this individual not only failed me and my search dog Valorie at the test, but when I asked this individual (Marty Neiman) to show me where the scent tubes were hidden on the first cadaver search, the tester failed to find a single one himself. Yet he was the tester who hid the items and bragged "Harry would never pass any of his tests". When the scent tubes were finally located and opened in front of witnesses, we discovered the scent tubes were empty and didn’t contain any scent at all. The witnesses and myself inspected each tube in front of Marty. Pam Milleran being one of those witnesses. She also verified the scent tubes were empty. (This proved Marty tried to set my search dog Valorie and I up for a failure test). Now how honest is this?
 
When Valorie and I retook the state cadaver test, Valorie hit on numerous decomposing sites. When the tester brought out the "SCENT TUBE" I examined the scent tube for the smell of "pseudo scent", there was no scent detected.
 
I’ve been testing with pseudo scent for the last 24 years and is qualified to determine if it was used or wasn’t used properly. What’s wrong with this test? Let’s talk about a credibility problem here. The tester is the same person who over the last 24 years had bad-mouthed me and my teams for the documented successful work I’ve done locally and internationally.
 
Lars Larson's radio talk show still maintains, "Harry's search teams can't find a body in a graveyard". Even after I’ve proved I was 100% accurate on the Ashley Pond Case. So where's the truth in the media there? This statement came from the very same State Cert. tester who told OCPD and the FBI (Marty Neiman) that there was, ”no body under the concrete slab”. Leading the detectives on a false trail and costing the FBI and OCPD to continue their effortless search at the cost of over $175,000 dollars.
 
If I.K.9.S.A.R.S. sar dog teams had been brought into the search back in Jan. 2002 when Ashley Pond first disappeared, I felt we would have located Ashley's remains like we did, identified the killer(s), and Miranda Gaddis would still be alive today. The FBI and OCPD would have been able to do their jobs effectively saving a human life, saving another woman from being raped, and saving tax payers $175,000 dollars in the search efforts. We actually documented finding 3 bodies. We turned over one of the body parts to Oregon City Police Dept. on a third body we located. This verified by OCPD files and reports. This again after they (The FBI, Oregon City PD, Search One K-9 Detection and the other search teams had already searched the area and found nothing).
 
My search dog and I DESTROYED THE CREDIBILITY OF THE O.S.S.A. K-9 TESTER.
If a person was to believe in the O.S.S.A. test as a true honest test of a dog team, then that meant that my search dog Valorie and I weren’t qualified to fly overseas to Turkey in Aug. and Nov. of 1999, and search for victims buried in the earthquakes.
 
Yet, it’s been proven through documentation and proof provided by photos, witness statements, and actual recoveries, info provided to the Turkish and US Government officials, that in both of the 1999 Turkey earthquakes, that SAR Dog Valorie and I documented finding 71 buried dead and 14 live buried victims. Just by SAR Dog Valorie and I making one single find of a live or dead person, this totally destroys the OSSA K-9 testing credibility completely.
 
COURT ROOM PROVEN. My documentation and credibility regarding expert witness testimony in criminal cases, was established and has held up, in the Clark County Courtroom Washington State Vs Beeson. And other criminal court cases where I’ve been called to testify. The state of Oregon Medical Examiner signed a presumptive death certificate on Dela Carlson based on my search dog Ranger’s findings of Dela’s remains, reports and test results. (This after local search teams OSSA, and Search One K-9 detection teams and failed to find any trace of her).
 
Fact: We’ve won numerous state, county, and national awards for our work in search and rescue.
 
Fact: My teams and I have found most people dead and some still alive in the ORIGINAL SEARCH AREAS, when the local OSSA K-9 and SAR teams failed to find them. Tim Bunner, Jay Burroughs, Eddy Zawaski, Joey Lefler, Butch Huston, Nathen Montz, Eli Kelt, Abe Ellis, Brian Harris, Dela Carlson, just to name a few victims. Many more on file.
 
Fact: We’re the only search dog team in the world to win the prestige’s Higgens and Langley Swift Water Rescue Award, and the National Jefferson award. We’ve received Two letters from President George Bush Sr. and one from President Bill Clinton for our outstanding work. We've also received letters from the President of the Philippines and Honduras for our rescue efforts in their countries.
 
Fact: We have the skills to find the missing. We have proven and qualified ourselves numerous times over the last 7,640 missions. We are the most successful search dog team in the world in regards to finding both missing people and pets.
 
Fact: We're the only dog team in the world, ever to be invited in to Jamaica to work alongside the Miami office of the FBI, and local police reference the Claudia Kirshock case
 
Interviewer: I’ve heard the comment that you are preying on victims in their time of need”.

Harry; Other comments we’ve heard is, " We’re preying on vulnerable people during their time of need". My response is this.  Any agency, public or private, which provides professional qualified services to a family in need, isn't "preying on them in their time of need". If that is a true, then other professional like us like police officers, paramedics, doctors, nurses, medical examiners, lawyers, and ministers, are all preying on these poor people also. So why are their actions any different? They all either volunteer their time or getting paid to provide a service to people in need just like we do. We’re no different.
 
Fact: Each client is given a business contract. They’re required to read and sign the contract before we start on a search. This contract explains in detail what we can and cannot provide, and our chances of success in the search efforts. They also are instructed to retain a copy of the contract. It also explains what the client will or won’t be required to pay for the search effort.
 
FACT: We are a licensed business in the state of Washington to perform our search and rescue services around the world.
 
FACT: We have documented donating an average of over $47,000 dollars a year in SAR Services to our community regarding missing persons and pets for the last 24 years. 
 
Our References:
Charlie Ringo (My Attorney) Bend, Oregon. cringo@teleport.com Charlie was with me during the 1998 Oregon D.O.J. AUDIT, and can provide documented information to show that:
 
1). We cooperated with the audit.
 
2). That I have always told the truth in my business dealings and documentation
     Of search reports.
 
3). There were no criminal or civil actions brought against Mr. Oakes when the
      Audit report was completed.
 
Retired Polk County Deputy Sheriff Bill Sealy. (503) 623-9123 Polk Co. SAR. (Known Harry for over 10 years). He can testify to Harry's team’s successes.
 
Kris DeSylvia (503) 231-1600. Email: kris@wtpdx.com
Kris performed an independent investigation on the Oklahoma City Bombing Disaster Response by Mountain Wilderness Search Dogs. She can provide first hand knowledge that Mr. Oakes was honest in his response and what really occurred there.
 
Michelle Keating (Dog Handler) Email:michellerae52@comcast.net  (360) 256-4822. One of I.K.9.S.A.R.S. Employees. She's been present with Harry on numerous search missions in the USA and in Honduras. Michelle can verify Harry’s passing of all I.K.9.S.A.R.S. Documented K-9 tests. Michelle can attest to their success in Honduras and on numerous other search missions.
 
Susan Royce (K-9 Search & Rescue Coordinator in Alaska). Email: svroyce@hotmail.com She can verify Harry's teaching abilities and the politics in SAR work.
 
Marla Petal. Email: mpetal@imagins.com Witness to Harry and Val's numerous finds in Turkey in the first earthquake response.
 
Riley and Tana Wooten (Group Leader through the Fire Dept. Current instructor for the Police Academy) Email: rileywooten@hotmail.com Witnessed Harry and Michelle's work in Honduras with their search dogs. Lives in Missouri. (573) 774-4020.
 
Mary Kuhn. (Client). Mary can testify to Harry's credibility and work and the total incompetents of the Clark County Sheriff's office and the Portland FBI, after her daughter was kidnapped and transported to MEXICO. Harry assisted in finding the four kidnapped kids and returning them safely to their families. .
 
Janice Saukko (503) 458-6137 It was her mother's remains that we found in the original search area in Clatsop Co. when OSSA State Cert. SAR Dog teams failed to find her remains and called off their search.
 
Fact: We have thousands and I mean THOUSANDS of satisfied customers around the world.
Why hasn’t the media interviewed any of them to get their side of the story and show that we are honest and brought closure to their cases when no one else would or could?
 
Interviewer: Let’s talk for a moment about scent. What is scent?
 
Harry: Scent is the dead skin cells (10,000 pieces per minute), that is dropped onto the ground while a person or animal is moving.
 
Interviewer: How long can scent be detected?
 
Harry: Inside a structure up to 100 years or longer depending on the contamination, containment, and environmental conditions. Outside we’ve successfully detected scent over a hundred years old.
 
Interviewer: So you’re telling me you’ve detected scent over a hundred years old? Can you give me a documented example?

Harry: Sure, when I was teaching in St Croix USVI we were there with the local K9 sar dog teams in training and the local police. My search dog Valorie went over to an old sugar cane field and alerted at a specific location. We dug up an old grave. The forensic teams determined these human remains were buried in the late 1800’s. Back in the days when slaves were used for labor, if the person died, they were buried right where they died with no head stone marker. This is what we were told by the local police. The police believe my dog Valorie located an old slave grave. This was witnessed by the K9 ST Croix USVI team. They can validate my findings there.
 
Interviewer: Some folks are on the belief that a search dog can’t follow a scent outside after 48 hours. Is this true?

Harry: It’s pure nonsense. We’ve successfully determined a valid track of a missing person in Vancouver BC Canada after he left his house a year before we were called in. It was determined that he committed suicide. Two of our search dogs tracked his scent through a wooded area to a water source where he drowned himself.
 
We’ve also documented hundred’s of cases, all validated by law enforcement, where we’ve tracked a missing person months after they have disappeared and located their remains.
 
Interviewer: So why the difference of opinions on scent?

Harry: When I first was being taught how to track, my instructor through Rocky Mountain Rescue Dogs informed me that no scent could be tracked after one week. I believed this. But over the 7,580 calls we’ve received and tracks we’ve completed, we, along with other dogs teams throughout the world have repeatedly proven this information isn’t true at all.
 
We repeatedly have success in tracking victims that have disappeared weeks, months, later from when they disappeared.
 
Interviewer: What age do you like to start training your search dogs?

Harry: I like to start them as puppies to move through the basics in socialization and bonding and past the behavior issues of biting, chewing, peeing, etc. But we’ve trained dogs as old as 10 years old for searching.
 
Interviewer: What breed of dog makes the best search dog?

Harry: There isn’t one breed that is best. Each breed or mix of breed offers something different to each search case. Bloodhounds, coon hounds, beagles, bassets are great trackers and air scenting dogs. German Shepherds, golden retrievers, labs, standard poodles also have great tracking noses. We’ve trained all breeds and all mixes for tracking, trailing and air-scenting.
Everything from a wiener dog for confined space SAR, to a great dane and everything in between.
 
I have an active team right now in Kentucky that uses Jack Russell’s. They are fantastic search dogs because of their drive. I personally use border collies because of their work drive.

In a rubble site I find the small to medium size dogs can get in and out of the rubble areas ok. Where the larger breeds such as the Golden Retrievers and German shepherds have trouble getting into the tight spots. They can still do a great job, but when you’re crawling through the confined spaces it’s nice to have your dog by your side to help you locate live and dead victims.
 
Interviewer: Do you train your search dogs for one specific task?
 
Harry: Absolutely not. I think that’s ridiculous. We’re an international team which means one week we might be in the jungles of the Philippines looking for buried victims in an earthquake and the next week in California tracking an Alzheimer patient or searching for a drowning victim. So all of our dog teams are trained for all aspects of K 9 sar. They are trained to track, trail, and air scent. They are trained for live and dead human searches to include forensic scent evidence.
Scent discrimination.
 
Interviewer: Are you cocky about your attitude in teaching K9 SAR and working sar dogs?

Harry: Nope not at all. A search dog keeps you humble. I’m very confident. Some people might portray that as being cocky. Without the search dog, I’m simply a ground searcher out there searching for victims. Without me the handler, the dog is just a dog. Together we make a proven successful search team.
 
Interviewer: Harry I’ve noticed that you don’t allow pinch collars, shock collars, choke chains. Why is that?
 
Harry: I’ve developed a policy and training procedure that’s called Love, Hugs, and Kisses. We reward our search dogs during training and work with praise, love, hugs, and kisses. Never food rewards. We don’t use choke chains, shock collars, or pinch collars as these are cruel.
 
If you love your dog as you well should, why would you hurt them and make them respond out of fear instead of love and mutual respect? I’ve trained thousands of dogs of all breeds with out these mid-evil torture devices. If you’re training with those devices you are training out of a fear response. Which is more humane?
 
Plus collars kill dogs. We’ve lost two search dogs to collars. One got caught on another search dogs jaw while playing and choked to death. The other got caught on a fence. So absolutely no collars of any kind are allowed on our team dogs.
 
The harness is also used as a seat belt for the dogs. You have control of the whole dog and we buckle them in to the vehicle or aircraft when we’re flying.
 
Interviewer: You have been called a real hard ass by your own employees.
Why is that? You do a background check on each volunteer, they all must be non smokers, no drugs are allowed and if they drink alcohol, they aren’t allowed anywhere near your training or work sites for a min. of 8 hours.



Harry: (Laughing) yes I am. I take our job seriously. We have human and animal lives at stake. This isn’t a game. This is my career. I take it seriously. One in every 200 applicants makes it through our training program. It’s very time consuming. If a handler is under the influences of drugs they aren’t any good to us. Same with alcohol consumption. I have a drink now and then when I’m off duty. A beer or glass of wine with dinner. But I know my limitations. The last thing I need is a drunk team member trying to rappel over a cliff to rescue someone else.
  
Interviewer: You’ve documented that you helped write SAR dogs standards for F.E.M.A. (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and N.A.S.A.R. (National Association for Search and Rescue) back in the late 80’s. Along with standards for NATO Disaster response teams in the 90’s. St Croix K9 SAR, Turkey K9 SAR, Philippine K9 SAR, and numerous other sar dog teams through out the world. Why do they turn to you for these standards?
 
Harry: I was approached by members of FEMA and NASAR in the late 1980’s. Several people besides myself put our input into these standards.
 
Interviewer: Then why aren’t you an active member with NASAR or FEMA?

Harry: They have become very political. I hate politics. As you can see by this interview I deal with ugly politics each and every day. I’m hear to teach and work my dog teams. Nothing else. I’m hear for the victim(s) out there. I don’t want to sit behind a desk and wear a suit and tie. That’s not me.
 
Interviewer: You use your search dogs to find lost pets?

Harry: Yes we do. They need assistance just like a missing human do.
 
Interviewer: Why is it that only a few teams in the USA use their search dogs to find both missing people and lost pets? I don’t understand this. Why isn’t everyone doing it?
 
Harry: Some teams believe that searching for a pet or animal will destroy your credibility in the courtroom. I’ve found this not to be true at all. It’s never ever been an issue. In fact just the opposite. When you can track a missing dog who has been missing for over a week through down town Portland, Oregon right to where it is being held, that proves your search dogs tracking abilities. We’ve done this over and over again all documented by date, time, location, names of people and pets involved and search results. At no time has it ever affected our credibility in the courtroom.
 
The truth of the matter is the folks that don’t want to track pets are lazy. They don’t feel it’s important enough for them to go walking in the rain, snow, and hot sun to do the job. Which doesn’t make sense to me. They have a search dog.
If their dog comes up missing what are they going to use to go find it?
 
Scent is scent to a search dog. Whether you’re searching for a live or dead victim or evidence at a crime scene such as a knife, human remains, hair, teeth or a firearm. The search dog doesn’t care.
 
I feel it has made us better searchers for missing people. You are out there looking for scent and scent evidence. (Clues to confirm why your search dog is tracking the direction it is tracking).

Do you want someone out there who tracks missing people four times a month or missing people and lost pets twice a day each and every day?

Most search dog teams have an average success of 25%. We have a documented success average of 97%. That’s either finding the missing person or pet or determining what really happened to them. Picked up, where, alive or dead, etc.
 
Interviewer: In one of your cases you tracked a missing person who was in a car. Can this really be done?

Harry: Yes. I’ve actually done this successfully on 3 missing person cases and on 15 missing pet cases to where we found what or who we were looking for. One was a little girl who had been kidnapped in Kentucky. Tracking a scent escaping from a vehicle takes a long time. A lot of hours actually tracking and is very dangerous. It’s also very hard on the search dog’s feet. Pounding the pavement so to speak. Because of the danger involved I rarely do this kind of tracking. Many tracking teams throughout the USA have done it successfully and I have been teaching teams how to track missing persons in vehicles since 1990.
 
Interviewer; I’ve reviewed your record keeping, your photos, your awards, letters, and must say, I’m very impressed. Why do you do this job when everyone appears to hate you for doing it?
 
Harry; I grew up in the Military. I was involved in the Cub scouts, Boy Scouts, and Explorer Programs. I worked in the Military when I became of age to serve our nation and then got out of the Army to work as a police officer. I find the work rewarding. I still believe in GOD, APPLE PIE, and the American Way. I believe in Truth, Justice, and above all, I have to answer to God when all is said and done. And I’m damn proud of my achievements. I’ve saved countless lives around the world and in the end, I can say I have made a difference. I’ve spent my own money, donated countless hours to serve mankind.
 
Interviewer; Do you have anything to ad that you want the public to know?
 
Harry: Yes, if anyone has anything to say to me, or about me, then say it directly to my face. My email is sardogk91@aol.com my phone# 503-705-0258.
Make sure you bring documentation that will hold up in the courtroom. Because everything I’ve said here will.
 
Interviewer: We’ll on that note I’m going to end the interview. I want to thank you for your time and on behalf of the people you have provided service to, I want to say “THANK YOU for a job well done”. I’m very impressed.” Good Luck in your future endeavors.

Harry; Thank you
 
Our mission in life continues to help others in their time of need, “So others may live”.
 
Respectfully
 
Mr. Oakes
Office of Emergency Management
International K-9 Search and Rescue Services.
 
I.K.9.S.A.R.S. Harry’s Yahoo 360 blog re SAR.
http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-aczg0BU5erSlJvtwUKlYqssO
 
Photos of Harry’s search dog teams in action.  
http://www.flickr.com/photos/searchdog/page1/
 
Before your child comes up missing, identify them. If a child is missing, send us the information. We search for missing children and adults. 
 
Write us at sardogk91@aol.com and we’ll send your our free child id kit.
 
If you know of anyone who is missing a human or pet family member please feel free to pass on our web site to them.  Thank You.
 
www.Ifsao.org view our work in Honduras
 
http://pnwbcrescue.blogspot.com/
 

For a current list of our successful missing persons searches write us at sardogk91@aol.com

 
 
 
 

Copyright © 2005 International K-9 Search and Rescue Services. All rights reserved.