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Ventura County Sheriff's Office
Saturday April 24th, 2021 :: 10:58 a.m. PDT


Ojai SAR Team Dog Rescue

Nature of Incident: Upper Ojai Search and Rescue Team Rescues Injured Dog
Report Number: 21-53470
Location: Sespe Creek Trail, Los Padres National Forest, CA
Date & Time: 04/23/2021 at 8:00 AM
Unit(s) Responsible: Upper Ojai Search and Rescue Team
(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent

City of Residence

(P) Lusha the Rottweiler
Marina Del Rey
Ventura County Sheriff’s Upper Ojai Search and Rescue Team assists in extricating an injured canine from the Los Padres National Forrest.
On 04-23-2021, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Upper Ojai Search and Rescue Team answered the call of an injured canine on the Sespe Creek Trail.
Lusha, the eight-year-old female Rottweiler, and her owner were enjoying a three-day hiking trip on the Sespe Creek Trail.  On the third day, Lusha injured her front paw and was unable to walk.  The pair was approximately 4.5 miles from the Piedra Blanca Trailhead and had no way to return to their car without assistance.   Lusha’s owner contacted a nearby hiking group who had a satellite communication device. By using the device, Lusha’s owner was able to communicate with a friend, who reported Lusha’s injury to Sheriff’s Dispatch with their exact location.
At approximately 9:00 AM, the Upper Ojai Search and Rescue (SAR) Team was activated and 6 team members immediately responded to the area to offer assistance.
SAR team members hiked approximately 4.5 miles east on the Sespe Creek Trail and located Lusha and her owner on the opposite side of the creek, near Bear Creek Campground.
SAR team members utilized a Litter Trail Wheel to transport Lusha on the trail with the intent of getting her home.  The Litter Trail Wheel is a lightweight stretcher, attached to an oversized all-terrain wheel used to transport injured hikers on trails and over other rough terrain. The Litter Trail Wheel proved to be the perfect tool for the 80lb canine, who sat patiently on the stretcher for the duration of the 4.5-mile hike back to the trailhead.
The volunteer members of the Ventura County Sheriff Search and Rescue teams are a valuable asset to the Sheriff’s Office and play an intricate role in all back-country search operations.  These volunteers are highly skilled in alpine search and rescue operations. The Upper Ojai Search and Rescue Team logs close to 4000 hours per year on searches, rescues, recoveries, and training in the Ventura County back country. These rescue professionals are your local life support in the Ventura County back country and staffed entirely by volunteers.
For more information on the Upper Ojai Search and Rescue Team, visit their website at  The team can also be followed on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @ojaisar.
Prepared by: Deputy Jason Havelka  
News Release Date: 4/24/2021  
Media Follow-Up Contact: Sgt. Kevin Donoghue (805) 797-7131  
Approved by:
Captain Eric Buschow  

Ventura County Sheriff's Office
800 S Victoria Ave
Ventura, CA 93003

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 805-654-9511

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