Eric and Hannah Riley, owners of Doomsday Haunt in Athens, have been very busy preparing for new attractions coming soon to the family entertainment venue. Most recently, Doomsday Haunts hosted the North Alabama Search Dog Association’s cadaver dogs and the Rileys hope this is just the beginning of more training opportunities.
“We utilized the woods for the haunted woods and the town – which is like a 1950’s post-apocalyptic nuclear war era feel through the whole place. That strongly appeals to a lot more than paintball players and haunted house enthusiasts,” he said.
After passing by the property on several occasions, North Alabama Search Dog Association reached out to the Riley’s about doing some training on the property. Two days prior to the training, cadavers were placed around the property for the dogs to locate.
“They specialize in training recovering bodies or search and rescue. So, for example, if there is a tornado, they will go out and try to find people, whether they be alive or deceased. Because we have a nuclear fallout town, the woods, lots of special effects, and different things you wouldn’t run into on the day to day, they were extremely interested in coming out to do training,” Eric said.
“We have tubes in angles that go down hill, different effects such as old cars, military vehicles, the cemetery, and the old church in the woods,” he said. “Some stuff was still Halloween, but the other is like urban training grounds.”
Hannah Riley learned that Doomsday Haunt was the perfect opportunity for the dogs to experience a new challenge and train on new obstacles. The dogs that trained at Doomsday Tuesday evening were successful in locating all the hidden items.
“They said that there are a couple of areas that can throw off their equilibrium and, even as a person, it can be unsettling and disorienting. It was a good challenge for them,” Hannah said. “If anyone else wants to come out here and do this – I’d love to partner with the police department or fire department.”
After posting on social media about the cadaver dog training, Hannah woke up with messages from several local and area agencies asking about training opportunities.
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