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Greenfield police await canine cop in training

Nov. 6, 2012

Greenfield - With the recent retirement of Badger the police dog, the Greenfield Police Department expects to have a successor on duty as early as March, said Capt. Jay Johnson, canine unit commander.

The replacement puppy will probably be in the police academy class starting in January in North Carolina, he said.

At the Southern Police Canine school, dogs at least a year old learn policing techniques - tracking, finding, holding suspects, protecting their human police partners and sniffing out drugs.

Badger's young replacement will be matched to whoever the new handler is, Johnson said. After their training, the master trainer assigns dogs to police departments, matching the dogs to the personalities of the handlers, Johnson said. Greenfield will choose a handler shortly.

When the rookie police dog comes to Greenfield he will receive fine-tuning and maintenance training, Johnson said.

Police dogs don't come cheap. They cost $14,000 each, including training, Johnson said. But the cost for a replacement is completely covered by donations from the MECA Wisconsin Police Canine Foundation; by Stan Kass, president of Skylark Vending; and by the support of local businesses through the annual Greenfield police canine golf outing, Johnson said.

The foundation was established by veterinarian Marla Lichtenberger, owner of the Milwaukee Emergency Center for Animals (MECA) inspired by her work with numerous police dog departments. The foundation recently created the Stan Lee Kass K-9 Fund, which is underwritten by Stan Kass in memory of his late wife Lee Kass.

In addition, Greenfield police have bought three police dogs with the help of the golf outing supported for the last 12 years by local businesses, Johnson said.

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