Police Dogs are Making a Difference
As the Pet Sitters International 2020 Pet Sitter of the Year I have the opportunity to select a “pet” project for giving back to my community. I’ve chosen the Craven County Sheriff’s K-9 Unit. These specially trained police dogs are important to our safety, a new initiative in the county, and largely underfunded.
Sheriff Chip Hughes has a strong interest in the health and welfare of the animals in our county. He promotes pet adoptions, visited the storm shelter during the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, adopted a family pet, hosted the first Craven County Pet Expo, established the new animal protection services division, and has joined the fight against animal abuse and neglect in Craven County. His actions have inspired me to support his K-9 Unit.
Officer Rebecca Hopper oversees the K-9 program and described some of their specific needs to establish the team on a limited budget. She noted that any donation, large or small, would be used toward the purchase of items that are needed immediately:
- Training equipment (tracking harnesses, bite suits, Kongs, tug toys, collars, leads)
- Protection gear
- Indoor/outdoor K-9 kennels – $3500 each
- Hot-N-Pop Heat Sensors for Patrol Vehicles – vehicle kennels $2,500 and sensors $1,500
Craven Wants a Pack
The goal is to build the unit up to an eight dog K-9 Patrol. Ongoing training will be needed for the dogs and their handlers and new dogs and officers will be added. Officer Hopper reports that purchasing a trained police dog is approximately an $11,000 investment. However, there are organizations like the Throw Away Dogs Project (TADP) that train and donate dogs who need a second chance.
K-9 Nibbles, our newest deputy, is a Pitbull with a rough start. TADP rescued him, trained him as a police dog, and donated him to the Craven County team. On January 23, Nibbles was sworn in as the rookie K-9 member of our Sheriff’s growing pack.
Police dogs are trained to track criminals, perform search and rescue, sniff out illegal materials, and support their handlers in many ways. In Craven County, they are turning routine traffic stops into major drug hauls effectively removing dangerous drugs off the streets before they get into the hands of our youth, family, and colleagues.
K-9s Stihl, Ringo, Ghost, and Nibbles are off to a great start serving and protecting our community. I feel, it is important for us to support them, their training, and to provided them with the tools they need to perform their best.
My first donation was made in January, and I encourage others to follow suit. You can mail your check to the Craven County Sheriff’s Office, 1100 Clarks Road, New Bern, NC 28562, and in the memo section, add Sheriff’s K-9 Unit. This is a donation that will make our county even safer.