A community effort to raise money for a new police dog has yielded $9,000--enough to pay for the dog and his training, the coordinator of the police K-9 unit said.
Police Lt. Bob Jones said the department was in danger of losing the dog unit because of budgetary problems and because money was lost in the county's investment pool. He said the department had to ask for help from the public to save the unit.
The city's previous police dog, Jack, injured his back during special narcotics training in November, Jones said.
"An orthopedic surgeon operated on him in January and he died in the recovery room of cardiac arrest. His heart stopped because of the anesthesia," Jones said.
"We had one anonymous donor that donated the cost of the dog, that was the second donor. I think we had a total of 34 contributors," Jones said.
The City Council accepted the donations Tuesday for the new dog, Castor, a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois, who is being trained in Cherry Valley.
Castor cost $5,400. His basic training--in which he learns searches, to avoid obstacles and to apprehend suspects--and more specialized narcotics training will cost $1,500 each.
Jones said the department may hold a coming out party for Castor when he finishes his initial five-week training, which begins Monday.
"We feel like people have gone out of their way to contribute and we'd at least like people to see the dog we've chosen," Jones said.
Castor will get a year of on-the-job training, in which he will get more familiar with his handler before going through the narcotics course.