Scituate police are looking to raise funds for a new police dog, after the department’s six-year-old German Shepard, Felix, had to be put down in August.
Although the town has a budget for a police dog, that money does not include the cost of purchase a new one, training it, and buying some equipment that a new dog would need.
“We have to fund-raise a certain amount of money to keep the program up and running to purchase the dog, necessary equipment, vet expenses initially, it's not costly, just more than the yearly cost we have once we have the dog. A lot of the equipment we have, but the initial cost of the dog and maintenance is what we’re getting money for,” said Officer Brian McLaughlin, the k-9 officer for the town and Felix’s caretaker.
Subsequently, police are looking to raise $7,000-9,000 for a new dog, which would be brought in from the Czech Republic and purchased from Connecticut Canine Services.
Although Felix came from a breeder in New York, McLaughlin said that company has since dissolved. Many other agencies have used CT Canine Services with much success.
The fact that they purchase their dogs from the Czech Republic speaks highly of the canine quality there, he said. “That’s just where a lot of the good police dog lines come from. It’s their forte,'' McLaughlin said.
While the town pulls together the funding for a new dog, the police are using dogs from nearby communities.
“We are utilizing regionalized canines, but our interest is obviously in replacing our own to have that tool back in our toolbox to assist in the residents and the town,” McLaughlin said.
Even after the dog is purchased, the department will continue fund-raising for the four-legged officer.
“The town does provide a budget for us, but any unforeseen expenses, vet costs out of the norm, we like to have equipment, maintenance, food, shelter … Scituate Animal Shelter helps with vet expenses, but the town does facilitate with their cost of the dog. They have a budget for the canine, but because of the financial times, we like to help out where we can,” McLaughlin said.
And while the department is moving on with a new dog, Felix’s memory will not be forgotten.
McLaughlin kindly remembered his old partner, and said that near the end, when Felix’s body was riddled with cancer, the vet expressed surprise that he could even breathe.
.”We had to treat him with honor and integrity and sent him out full honors,” McLaughlin said.
The Scituate Police Department will also host a small memorial for Felix as well as dedicate a plaque to him at the Police Station in coming weeks.
Residents can check www.scituatepolicedepartment.org or the Scituate Police Canine Facebook page for more information.