A K-9 dog costs a lot more than a domestic pet — $13,000 for the purchase and training.
The Stow Police Department has begun fundraising to purchase a third K-9 dog and additionally hopes to raise enough money to replace another dog retiring soon.
Stow Police Chief Louis Dirker said the Fraternal Order of Police established a checking account for the deposit of funds that were collected for the last fundraiser that the department had when it bought K-9 Colt.
"We have used the funds that remained after the purchase of Colt to help offset the costs of the K-9 program," said Dirker. "The balance in the fund is nowhere near what is needed to purchase and train a new K-9 so we are soliciting donations for the third K-9 and at the same time we are hoping to raise enough money to purchase another K-9 next fall to replace K-9 Nero, who will be retired at the end of next year."
Nero was two when he joined Stow's force and he is currently eight. Most full-time K-9s retire around the age six or seven, the chief said.
Once funds are raised, the dogs are purchased from an Ohio company, which purchases the dogs from overseas — usually Germany or another close European country — and which also provides the training for the dog and the handler.
The police department is selling Tshirts for $10 to help raise money. Donations are also being accepted. (Forms to purchase a shirt or donate money are attached to this post in the form of a .pdf.) Forms can be dropped off or mailed to the Stow Police Department: 3800 Darrow Rd.
The city's finance department has created an account to which donations may be made and these donations are tax deductible.
The department is also planning on having a Dog and Suds fundraiser this spring to help raise additional funds.
"In the meantime I will be sending out letters to businesses and service organizations in the community soliciting donations," said Dirker. "Any business or organization that donates the total amount of the funds to purchase and train the K-9 will have a placard placed on the K-9 cruiser denoting that the K-9 was purchased with funds from that organization."
Any funds left over after the K-9 and the training are paid for will be used for the feeding, grooming, veterinary bills and the purchase of equipment for the K-9s and the program.
"The K-9 Program is a valuable adjunct to the police department," the chief said. "These dogs are trained in drug detection, tracking, evidence retrieval and perpetrator apprehension. K-9’s can perform a building search more thoroughly and more quickly than a team of police officers and their ability to detect the presence of drugs is uncanny. They are truly a valuable asset, which the Stow Police Department uses to the fullest extent possible."