By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Police dogs have been a mainstay of law enforcement for more than a hundred years, and although they are put in the same danger as their human partners, it’s a relatively rare occurrence when a K-9 dog is killed in the line of duty.
But last summer, Kilo and Magnum of the Anderson Police Department’s K-9 program were both euthanized after suffering gunshot wounds in the line of duty.
The slayings happened within a month of each other. The coincidence was as unprecedented as it was tragic.
Out of the tragedy came support from the community. Donations poured in from around the area and even from around the country. Kilo and Magnum were mourned and hailed as heroes after the incidents. But what happened to the money raised?
Simply put, all of it went to funding the K-9 program and acquiring replacement dogs, said Anderson Police Chief Larry Crenshaw.
“The donations were completely voluntary. It’s not something we were looking for or expecting, but we received so much support,” Crenshaw said. “It goes to show that dogs are special animals and humans respond to them in a unique way.”
Crenshaw said he couldn’t put an exact number on the donations made to the program after the shootings, but he estimated it was at least a few thousand dollars, and it all went to improving the K-9 program.
And chances are good the program needed it. Police dogs aren’t cheap.
APD works with Vohne Liche Kennels in Denver, Ind., the largest police dog providing kennel in the country. Vohne Liche works with hundreds of law enforcement agencies across America and provides thousands of police dogs. The kennel imports adult dogs from Europe, shows them to prospective agencies and works out a price. The dogs are then trained for about a month with help from the kennel or in-house at the purchasing agency.
Dan Parker, director of law enforcement at Vohne Liche, said a typical price for a K-9 dog is between $10,000 and $15,000.
“It depends on what kind of dog you’re looking at,” Parker said. “It’s about $2,000 more for bomb dogs. There are also cadaver, patrol, drug and cellphone dogs.”
Parker said German shepherd and Belgian Malinois are the two most common dogs for law enforcement. He said Anderson Police Department chose to train its new dogs in-house rather than purchase a training program with Vohne Liche. It’s not uncommon for a dog and its handler not to mesh, and an exchange is sometimes required.
“We’ve dealt with the owner there for some time, and they’re great about helping us try to find the right dogs,” Crenshaw said.
While last summer’s shootings put a strain on APD’s program, they might have paved the way for a change in policy. Officers Matt Jarrett and Marty Dulworth, the handlers of the two dogs killed, appeared at an Indiana Senate committee meeting on Tuesday to urge lawmakers to approve legislation that would make criminals convicted of harming or killing police dogs financially responsible.
The bill passed the Indiana House by a 97-0 vote and appears to have bipartisan support in the Senate. The Corrections and Criminal Law Committee is expected to vote next week on whether to send the bill to the Senate floor.
Find Jack Molitor on Facebook and @AggieJack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.