LANSING, Mich. — The Rotary Club of Mason is proud to announce a fundraiser to assist the City of Mason in launching a new K-9 Program within their Police Department.
In September, the Ingham County Animal Control transferred eight rescued German Shepard dogs from St. Clair County Animal Control where they had been seized from a neglect/hoarding situation. One dog had the potential to be a working K-9, which the Mason Police Department (MPD) has been considering for years. About 30-40 calls a year occur in Mason where a dog could assist on investigations (bomb threats, missing children/seniors, security checks, tracks, etc.). In addition, the program will provide a professional growth opportunity for a handler (after a competitive selection process), serve as a tool for large special event sweeps and greatly enhance community engagement opportunities. The vision for the program is to extend ownership of this dog to the Mason community and its tax payers. This dog will be represented in Mason as a valuable tool to serve our citizens and their specific needs, including better relationship building between police and members of our community.
Since September, the dog has been evaluated by a former K-9 handler and Master Trainer in obedience and tracking, an ICACS Behaviorist and Trainer and a board certified behaviorist & DVM (one of only 2 in the state of Michigan); who all confirmed the dog was suited for K-9 duty. Further evaluation was conducted by the owner of Mid-Michigan Police K-9, LLC. The dog was put through a strict behavioral and medical screening and it was again confirmed the dog was an exceptional candidate for a dual-purpose police K-9, and the dog and a student handler could be enrolled for training in Spring of 2021.
For the program to be successful, no additional staff will be added to the police department, and a police SUV will be fitted as a dual-purpose K-9 and general patrol vehicle, still capable of transporting a person in police custody. Due to uncertainty of City Finances, Mason City Council will only authorize the adoption if funds are raised to cover the startup of the program, estimated at $20,000, so there will be minimal burden to tax payers. A local veterinarian, Dr. Main, has also agreed to provide routine veterinarian care at no cost to the City. The Rotary Club of Mason has agreed to take on the challenge of fundraising for this effort.
The dog was fostered by Dr. Marie Hopfensperger, DVM,DACVB who is also a member of the Ingham County Animal Control Advisory Board. Dr. Hopfensperger performed the dogs spay surgery and funded the other medical evaluations to ensure the dog was medically sound for police work. Dr. Hopfensperger and Ingham County Animal Control Director Heidi Williams have personally donated a number of their medical and care services to prepare the dog to realize her potential as part of a law enforcement team.
They are calling on the community that is able to donate to this project and help make Mason this dog’s permanent home. Donations can be received by the Rotary Club of Mason by mail at PO Box 101 Mason, MI 48854-0101. The City of Mason cannot accept any direct donations.
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