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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.