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They are the newest members of Mishawaka’s finest and boy, are they new. K-9′s Rex and Max made their journey from the Netherlands, to Pennsylvania to Mishawaka just 9 days ago.
Corporal Anthony Stachowiak, a Mishawaka K-9 Officer says, “I am overly excited. I cannot wait to start working. I love to work with dogs. I’ve been waiting a long time for this, too.”
Brand new K-9 officer Corporal Anthony Stachowiak and current K-9 officer Sgt. Chad Thomas chose them at a specialized police dog kennel in Pennsylvania.
Corporal Chad Thomas, a Mishawaka K-9 Officer says, “It’s been an adventure. It’s good. I mean for a young dog. He’s 13 months old so it’s been exciting, I’ll put it that way.”
Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, Sandy Marcal has been available to help man’s best friend…K-9 friend. For the past eight years, she has volunteered organizing events and raised more than $50,000 to provide bullet protective vests for law enforcement K-9s in Massachusetts. In 2009, Marcal decided to pursue her dream and organized Vested Interest in K-9s, Inc., a non-profit whose mission it is to provide vests for police dogs in Massachusetts. New K-9s graduating from the Massachusetts Police Academy as well as K-9s with expired vests will have an opportunity to be placed on Vested Interest in K-9s, Inc. wait list.
Marcal has had the opportunity to work with local police departments, Mass. State Police, Mass. Dept. of Corrections, MBTA (Mass. Bay Transportation Authority), Mass. Department of Mental Retardation and USAF-Hanscom Air Force Base to secure protective vests for the dogs. She often attends K-9 training sessions, meets with the handlers, and organizes meetings between potential vest sponsors and K-9 teams.
“I have had the honor to meet many police dogs and their dedicated handlers and seen many of these K-9 teams demonstrate their talents of apprehension, obedience, narcotics firearms and bomb detection,” Marcal commented.
“It is unfortunate that local and state budgets do not have funding for bullet/stab protective vests, and that’s where we step in to assist. Each vest presently costs $725 and the waiting list changes often,” Marcal said.
Marcal’s website displays pastel artwork of law enforcement K-9s that was donated by local artist Russ Wilkinson of Wilkinson portraits (www.wilkinsonportraits.com). “His work is amazing and completely captures the personality of the dogs and the handlers,” Marcal said.
Vested Interest in K-9s, Inc. is run by Marcal with the assistance of fellow animal lovers, Attorney Robert H. Fennessy Jr. and Sarah Glaser, both of whom are charter members of the Board of Directors.
Attorney Fennessy has a solo law practice in Walpole, MA that concentrates in Animal Law, Municipal Law, Employment Law and Family Law. He previously served as captain of the Law Enforcement Department of the MSPCA. Fennessy teaches an Animal Law and Rights course at Southern New England School of Law, where he’s an adjunct professor of law and he teaches a civil liability course for ACOAM (Animal Control Officers Association of Mass.). Having dedicated his career to animal welfare, Fennessy was invited to speak and present at the 2007 and 2008 National Animal Law Conference in Portland Oregon and the 2009 International Animal Law Conference.
Sarah Glaser has been an editor for GateHouse Media, Inc. for three years, following two years as copy chief for MPG Newspapers. Before working as an editor she attended college in North Carolina majoring in communications. As an editor, she oversaw reports about the K-9 program as it impacted the town of Kingston. Ms.Glaser has grown up around police dogs and always found their work interesting. Being
a life-long animal lover, she volunteers her time with various animal rescue organizations. Her household consists of four rescue cats. She became acquainted with Marcal during a fundraiser where the Kingston Police Departments K-9, Olyver was featured.
Marcal has plans for a motorcycle ride and Helping Paws for the Holidays Pet Santa Photos in 2010 to benefit the cause. Anyone wishing to volunteer may reach Marcal at email@example.com.
Donations may be sent directly to Vested Interest in K-9s, Inc. P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718 or online at www.vik9s.org. For more information, please call 508-824-6978.
A Maitland councilman has secured a final resting place near the city’s new police station for the graves of four police dogs buried years ago near the old station.
Councilman Phil Bonus said the dogs, some of whom died decades ago, were treasured officers and shouldn’t be left behind. The granite headstones of Officers Sarge, Max, Sivil and Bear, and some of the earth underneath, were dug up Tuesday and moved to a new spot on the south side of the Fennell Street station, just west of the Little League center field.
Bonus put the dirt from each of the old burial spots into wooden coffins that he built himself. The Maitland Men’s Club, of which Bonus is a member, paid for the new coffins, a memorial bench and a granite marker that will designate the spot as the Maitland K-9 Officers Memorial Garden. The city plans an unveiling in March.
Sgt. Chris Ohalek, who served as Sivil’s partner for a year until the dog’s death in 1999, was delighted. He said he had talked to other police dog handlers and knew of no other agency in Central Florida with such a memorial.
This is the second step the city has taken in recent months to honor a police dog. The council passed a resolution in August honoring another of Ohalek’s partners, K-9 Officer Alix, a German Shepherd who retired after 10 years with the police department. He will live out his retirement with Ohalek. Then, when the time comes, there will be a spot for him in the garden.
East Hempfield Township police Chief Doug Bagnoli would hear the “very generous offer” each time he’d bring his dog in for a checkup at the veterinarian’s office.
If your police force gets a K9 unit, the doctor told the longtime suburban police chief, “I’ll care for the dog for free.”
But “money was the hurdle,” and the East Hempfield police were never able to land that K9 unit — until now.
In the last few weeks of 2009, the car dealership Lancaster Toyota Mazda Scion Inc. made a $20,000 donation so the East Hempfield police could start the officer-and-dog program.
East Hempfield supervisors gave their go-ahead in late December, and the dealership has already dropped off a check for $20,000 to the police department.
So township police hope to have their first-ever K9 unit up and running by late spring or early summer.
“It’s going to allow us to do many more things,” Bagnoli said Jan. 7.
Those things include police activity like searching for drugs and conducting building searches with the dog, whose official responsibilities have been set as being “patrol, search and narcotics.”
The sight of a big police dog is often enough to make someone think twice about acting up with police, Bagnoli said. “Having a dog probably prevents injuries (among suspects), just like Tasers do.
“Just like how people look at that (Taser) and go, ‘Whoa, I don’t want any part of it,’ they see the dog and say, ‘Don’t turn the dog loose,’ ” to the officer.
In addition, the animal will serve as “an ambassador for the police department,” the chief said.
There will be training and startup costs, and the East Hempfield police are welcoming donations.
Some businesses have expressed an interest in helping out with a donation, Bagnoli said.
“With the community supporting it, we think it’s going to be a good thing. … We don’t see how it can’t be,” Bagnoli said.
Rick Price, general manager at Lancaster Toyota Mazda Scion, said Jan. 8 the dealership “has a real good working relationship with several of the East Hempfield officers” and is glad it was in a position to help.
East Hempfield Officer Greg Haski was at the Route 72 dealership, which is in the township, and when dealer officials asked him how they could best help the department, Haski listed starting up a K9 unit as a major need.
Bagnoli said, “We are thankful for this donation. … This is something we felt the community needed for many years, and now it will become a reality.”
The offer from the veterinarian, who also enlisted other area vets to offer help if there was a serious injury to the dog, “was a nice benevolent thing to do for the community,” Bagnoli said. The chief asked that the vet not be named.
A job description and tasks for the K9 officer’s position will be posted at the department, and officers will then be able to apply.
For more information on the planned K9 patrol or how to contribute, call the East Hempfield police at 898-3103.
Also concerning East Hempfield police, Sgt. Dennis Eberly was promoted recently by township officials to lieutenant.
A 28-year department member, Eberly had been a patrol sergeant since 1992.
By DAVID O’CONNOR
All the dogs came at once.
The police department had gone years without a K9 unit, until the mid 2000s, when it acquired six German shepherds.
They’re all close in age, and they’ll all reach retirement about the same time, said Maj. Larry Wilson. With a working life of about eight years, that’s not too far off.
Which is why Wilson was already thinking about a replacement when the phone call came.
“It was uncanny,” he said, “how it worked out.”
Milk-Bone and Farm Fresh were offering Suffolk police a $5,000 donation toward the purchase of a new police dog. The canines cost about $6,000 with basic training, Wilson said. The gift, part of Milk-Bone Canine Heroes Program, would just about cover it.
The Suffolk Police K9 Unit accepted the donation in a ceremony last week at Farm Fresh on Bridge Road.
Wilson said the department will start its search for a canine in early 2010.
Three of the dogs and their police officer handlers work downtown. The other three work out of northern Suffolk, Wilson said. Four of them are trained to sniff out drugs; two are explosive-trained. All can track people and search buildings.
Milk-Bone has donated more than 850 police and service dogs since it partnered with the nonprofit Canine Assistants in 1997, according to the city.
“We’re extremely grateful for the donation and that we were selected,” Wilson said.
By Kristin Davis
The Town of New Berlin Police Department will soon be adding a K-9 drug searching unit to its ranks. One of its officers decided to shoulder the cost of purchasing and training the purebred German Shepherd pup out of his own pocket.
Corporal Robert L. Jones is a three-year, part-time veteran of the New Berlin and Owego Police Departments and almost everywhere he goes, he is now followed by a 15-week-old Schutzhund German Shepherd named Bruno.
In just under 12 months, Bruno and Jones are scheduled to complete the required training for a Certified New York State Drug Detection K-9 dog at the Southern Tier K-9 Association’s facility in Binghamton.
Jones has dedicated his own free time and money to the project that will provide both departments he works for with a designated K-9 unit. Already Jones has spent over $2,000 in acquiring the animal and for its medical care.
“Why am I doing this? We need it, we just plain need it. It’ll make our job of local drug enforcement much easier here (in New Berlin) in the long run. We have serious drug problems in the local community and a dog can make a huge difference, not just here but in both New Berlin and Owego,” said Jones.
The two will travel to Binghamton to start the official training in about eight weeks when Bruno has matured more, but already Jones, who has prior K-9 training experience, has begun to condition the puppy to the basics of its future occupation. The puppy can already obey several commands, including sit and stay.
“I can’t begin to explain the value of having our own K-9 unit in the New Berlin PD. They’re worth their weight in gold,” said New Berlin’s acting officer in charge, Dominick Commessol.
Commessol said he and Jones had been “batting around” the idea of getting a police dog for the department for nearly three years.
GREENCASTLE, PA – The newest member of Greencastle’s police department is finishing his first week on the job.
“Rony” joined the force on Monday after several weeks of training.
The 17-month-old K-9 is trained in narcotics, tracking and apprehension.
An anonymous donor supplied $13,000 for the dog and his training, but it was up to the officers to pick their new pal.
“He likes me, and I like him,” said K-9 handler Keith Russell. “Rony was the only one we had to look at. We got along very well, and he was the perfect fit for Greencastle.”
It didn’t take long for Rony to experience life on the Greencastle police force. Officer Russell says the dog got called out to a possible home invasion in his first few minutes on the job.
Fundraiser will help buy protective vests for Placer K-9s
A local non-profit organization is holding a fundraiser to replace aging protective ballistic vests for Placer County law enforcement canines.
The Foothills K-9 Association is selling raffle tickets and hosting an event Sunday in hopes of raising enough money to replace vests for 15 canines working for the Placer County Sheriff’s Department and the Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln police departments, an association news release states.
The ballistic vests last about five years.
Tickets are for sale this week at Animal Nutrition Center. The fundraiser will culminate Sunday with an event featuring prize drawings, K-9 demonstrations and a pet supply expo.
Prizes include a two-night stay at the Resort at Squaw Creek, a cedar dog house, dog beds, dinners for four at local restaurants, and dog food for a year for 12 winners.
The drawings will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at Animal Nutrition Center, 1805 Cirby Way, Suite 10, Roseville.
The event will be held in the store and parking lot. Canine handlers and their canine partners will hold narcotics detection and patrol demonstrations, and people will be able to meet and pet the dogs, the release states.
For more information, call the association at (916) 747-7806.
A local police department will be adding some bark to its force. Thursday night, the Altoona City (WI) Council approved the addition of a K-9 program to the city police department.
Officer Matt McCoy, who will work with the dog, says the department will be getting a male German shepherd. The dog is scheduled to come in February, and training will begin in March.
The K-9 and training are both paid for through a grant and donations, but the department is still looking for donations to cover the rest of the costs of the program.
The Springfield Kennel Club will provide the money to the Police Department to purchase and train a new police dog to replace Bojar, a 7-year-old German Shepherd who died earlier this month of cancer.
Susan K. Cohen, director of public relations for the club, said she contacted the office of Commissioner William J. Fitchet with the offer, and had also spoken with officer George T. Flanagan, the handler for Bojar, who will receive the new dog.
The cost of purchasing and training a new dog suitable for police work can be at least $5,000 and as high as $6,500, said Springfield Police Sgt. John M. Delaney, aide to Commissioner Fitchet
The department is most appreciative of the club’s generosity, he said.
Cohen said the offer is a natural fit for the club, which has worked closely with the police K-9 officers since the unit was formed.
Officers and their dogs regularly work with club members with training and demonstrations for the public. Club members were aquatinted with and fond of Bojar, who served with the Springfield police since 2002.
The kennel club supports police dogs as an example of properly trained working dogs, she said.
“They do things human officers can’t do,” she said.
In addition to purchasing a new dog, the Springfield Kennel Club is interested in starting a charitable fund where people can donate money that would aid the police in paying for costs associated with the dogs.
“It’s for the upkeep of the dogs,” she said. Police dogs, like all pets, require food, medicine, and veterinary care, she said.
“It’s a good chunk of change,” she said. “If people make the donations, that would be great.”
Delaney called the special fund a great idea.
He did not have the cost associated with the K-9 program at hand, but said money for care of the animals comes out of the department’s budget.
The Police Department has eight other K-9 teams. The dogs are in service daily to search for drugs, track criminals and aid in crowd control.
Delaney said it would likely take several weeks to find the right dog and have it properly trained for police work. The dog and Flanagan would have to spend some time together getting used to each other, he said.
This will be the second dog the club has helped purchase. In 2001, the club donated $3,800 toward the purchase of a German Shepherd named Hammer.
Cohen said the Springfield Kennel Club, which is affiliated with the American Kennel Club, is one of the oldest dog clubs in the country. For more information on the club, its Web page is www.springfieldkennelclub.org .
How to help
• Donations to the Springfield Kennel Club’s police K-9 fund may be made in care of Treasurer Dorothy C. Saletnik, Springfield Kennel Club, P.O. Box 637, Ludlow, Ma., 01056.