As the first class of Glendale police K-9 dogs nears retirement, officials are ramping up fundraising efforts for a donor-supported program to buy replacements.
The K-9s have started to show their age and will need to retire and be replaced with pups within the next two or three years, Glendale Police Officer Shawn Sholtis said.
"You can definitely see them starting to slow down," he said. "The job puts wear and tear on their bodies, just like ours."
To replace the highly-skilled dogs, Sholtis and fellow police handlers must raise funds to purchase and train new K-9s. Sam, Yudy, Marlin and Quwai currently make up the K-9 unit.
The dogs are trained for basic patrol, tracking suspects and missing persons and sniffing out narcotics and explosives.
The current class of dogs will show off their best tactical skills at the 2nd Annual K-9s in the Park event, which is aimed at raising funds for new pups.
Police dog handlers created Glendale K-9s in the Park last year in an effort to raise funds for their unit, which is supported through public donations and profits from T-shirt sales, Sholtis said.
The officers need about $100,000 to replace all four dogs. Trained K-9 pups cost $20,000 to $25,000 each, he said. The department also hopes to build a savings account for the unit to pay for any emergency costs, he added.
Much of the veterinary care has been donated to the department, Sholtis said. The dogs' food and continued training has been paid for through the department's asset forfeiture fund, he added.
So far, police dog handlers were able to raise enough funds at last year's event to purchase and train one K-9, Sholtis said.
Event sponsors and vendors helped raise funds at last year's event, which drew more than 5,000 people.
Sholtis is hoping this year's event and new activities will draw more attendance.
The event will showcase an additional police K-9 dog demo and pet, dog speed and howling contests.
The City Clerk's Office will provide pet licensing and offer a low-cost vaccination clinic, said Steve Rodriguez, the city's license investigator.
While the vaccinations interest pet owners, the police dogs attract the largest crowds, Rodriguez said.
"The K-9 unit really puts on a great show," he said.
What: Glendale Police's 2nd Annual Glendale K-9s in the Park
Where: Verdugo Park, 1621 Cañada Boulevard in Glendale
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Oct. 9