Charlevoix County Sheriff W. Don Schneider spoke at the Boyne Valley Lion’s Club on July 8 to present lions members with information on the need to rekindle the K-9 program.
Schneider pointed to benefits of having the program, stating that the program has never been state funded, but only through donations from the local community.
“There has been a minor hit in our K-9 program. My predecessor George T. Lasater (former Charlevoix County Sheriff) initially started the K-9 program,” said Schneider. “It has never been supported county tax dollars, it’s all come from the
community. The K-9 officer is paid by the county, but never the dog.”
Schneider told the Lions that the cost of the dog would be about $8,000, which would include its training, but the officer the dog is assigned to will have to work with the dog through a training program.
“This past December, our dog came down with cancer, and unfortunately it was a sad day that we had to put the dog down because of the pain,” he said. “He was a great dog, did very very well. I think he was 8 years old. We have to get the dog at about two, we need to have them young but also a little bit of maturity there.”
The cost of the K-9 program has to cover the cost of the dog, vet bills, training for the dog and officer, and other certificates both officer and dog need to be qualified for the job.
“We need a dog for drug detection,” Schneider said…. “There were a lot of opportunities where we didn’t have a dog to do that. I’m very disappointed about drugs in our community because I don’t want our children, and our grandchildren being exposed to these drugs and ruining their lives, as we’ve seen.”
Schneider told the Lions that they aren’t certain of what breed of dog they will buy. The purchase will most likely be made in September.
“Unfortunately, the Shepard is a great dog, but the hip dysplasia is hard on German Shepards so their usefulness is diminished from other breeds that don’t suffer from hip dysplasia,” he said. “I think shepards are probably a little more intimidating when you need them to be intimidating.”
Schneider also said in the K-9 program that the dog will live with the officer 24/7, and the county pays for the dog’s living expenses.
“They train together and they become partners,” he said.
The program will cost approximately $15,000 total to launch, and anyone can donate to the program by mailing donations to the Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office, K-9 program, for more information call Schneider at (231) 547-4461.