Following the untimely death of one dog and the injury of another,
Burbank Police believe they’ve finally found the right canine for the
Caila, a 3-year-old black Belgian Malinois, began working patrol
about a month ago with her handler, Officer Theresa Geier. The third
member of the department’s K-9 team, Caila, a female, came from the
Netherlands in January, and was trained for patrol and narcotics
work. She is replacing Ugli, a 5-year-old German Shepard who died in
November of a stomach ailment.
Luke, the German shepherd originally purchased to replace Ugli
(pronounced oo-glee), was deemed unfit for duty after he developed
hip and leg problems in training, police said.
At a weight of 60 pounds, Geier said Caila is about 15 pounds
lighter than Ugli. Caila’s muscular frame, speed and drive make her a
great worker, Geier said. The dog is trained to search for everything
from guns to drugs, but can also be useful in tracking fugitives, she
“Anytime someone runs from police, and we believe they’ve
committed a felony, we can use her to search for them,” she said.
Caila cost $8,000 and was paid for by donations from NBC Studios
and the Burbank Women’s Club, police said. The K-9 program has
continued to grow since it began with one dog in 1980, and Lt. Janice
Lowers said the dogs save the department money.
“They take the place of paid officers,” Lowers said. “The calls
the canines go on we would have to send two officers on.”
When Caila isn’t going on calls she lives with Geier and her
family. Having the dog at home makes it easier to respond when they
are needed, but Geier said it also makes losing a dog like Ugli
difficult. Even so, she’s happy to be working with Caila.
“When you lose a dog, the first thing that comes to mind is ‘I’m
not going to do this again,’” she said. “Then you think, ‘How could I
not do this again?’”
The public will have a chance to meet Geier and Caila during the
Fire Service Day and National Police Week celebration, from 10 a.m.
to 3 p.m. Saturday.