They are an intricate part of the Chico Police Department. K-9 police officers are instrumental in solving crimes and chasing down criminals, but these highly trained four legged cops don't come cheap. These K-9's require months of special training and cost an average of 15,000 dollars per dog. "They're expensive to train, they're expensive to maintain, they require a lot of equipment and medical care, they have a high risk job" said Mangrove Veterinary Hospital Veterinarian Lynn Caikoski.
That's why the staff from Mangrove Veterinary Hospital decided to offer a helping hand. The clinic hosted a doggie dash Sunday in Chico's Bidwell Park, raising money that will be donated toward the Chico Police K-9 Division. "They certainly ask nothing in return for what they give us and they give us a lot of security and service to this city" explained Caikoski.
And those who participated in the run agree "The K-9 unit is really important to us, it's not only for our safety, but the officer's safety, they're part of their family" said participant Shelly McNutt.
Money raised from the doggie dash supplements a dwindling budget. The department has recently seen cuts and three officer positions have been cut in the last year. Chico Police Officers were also hit hard in June after the department lost its K-9 Cash to cancer. "It was very unexpected and we just didn't have the funds at that time to be able to replace him, because of the community's support we've had, we can replace him now" said Chico Police K-9 Officer Brett Smith.
The Chico Police Department hopes to get a new K-9 by the end of the year, thanks to community fundraisers like this one. Mangrove Veterinary Hospital hopes to make the doggie dash a yearly fundraiser for the department.