Further Voluntary Work
The Northern Ireland Fire and rescue Service Urban Search and Rescue Team, use three of the dogs trained by Neil, when searching a collapsed structure for trapped persons, or the water for someone beneath the surface.
Two of the dogs, are Charco and Sammy, black Labradors and the other, the water dog, is a spaniel called Fern. His dogs Pepper, Dylan and Cracker, have all been responsible for locating people lost in the mountains or in earthquakes around the world.
In June, 2006, Cracker and Dylan were each awarded the Gold Medal for Valour, for their work in the mountains of Ireland and in the Turkish earthquakes, by the Peoples’ Dispensary for Sick Animals.
On 16th March, 2008, Fern located the body of a man, who had drowned in the River Boyne at Navan, County Meath. Divers later recovered the man at a point 50 metres up stream from the place indicated by Fern.
During the Easter holidays, 2007, Fern located the bodies of two teenagers who had drowned in Castlewellan Lake, County Down. The bodies, were recovered 10 feet from the marker buoy which had been placed by members of the NI Fire Rescue Service at the point located by Fern.
Commercially, Neil trained the worlds first optical disc detection dogs, Lucky and Flo. The Motion Picture Association of America commissioned Neil to firstly, establish whether it was possible to train dogs to detect DVDs and then to bring the dogs up to an operational standard.
Lucky and Flo have now been round the world to demonstrate there ability and have been responsible for locating many millions of pounds worth of illegally produced optical discs.
He then went on to train two more dogs to search for DVDs, Manny and Paddy, and these have both gone to work for the Malaysian Government.
He has trained explosives search dogs which now work in the Middle East, and he has his own explosives search dog, Charco. With him, Neil has worked at the MCC grounds at Lords during the Test Match series in 2003, 2004 and 2006.
In 2005, Neil undertook the training of a dog to detect accelerants. Jolly, a black Labrador, was to be used in the fight against arsonists and would allow forensic officers to know exactly where in a burned building, to take their samples from, samples which could then be used as evidence in any subsequent court proceedings. After 12 weeks of intensive training, Jolly, was assessed and qualified by a Fire Investigation Officer from London. He then travelled to Italy where he began working for the Torre Fire and K-9 Response Group in Bologna.