Steps are being taken in Ann Arbor, Michigan to stop police dogs from being treated as equipment. It’s been considered more cost effective to just get a freshly trained dog than to have to pay for costly medical expenses after dogs were injured in the line of duty. But one animal hospital is seeking to change their post-service treatment.
In collaboration with the Ann Arbor Animal Hospital, the National K-9 Working Dog Organization has recently announced the creation of what they have called the Police K-9 Bill of Rights. Animal hospital director David Caddell says they are making efforts to increase awareness and support for the legislation, as well as fundraise for the medical care of retired police dogs.
For years, military and police agencies have classified tactical dogs as equipment, and have treated them as such when they get worn out. Replace rather than repair. But what happens to these old dogs that can no longer serve in an official capacity? If handlers don’t adopt them, the dogs are often euthanized because it is a liability for non-police to adopt dogs that have spent their lives being trained to attack.
It seems an unfair juxtaposition that the charge for assault on a police dog is as serious as one on a human officer, but at the end of the day, dogs are considered just another item in the inventory.
“When it comes time to retire the canine from the law enforcement force, whether it be for medical, age, injury or other reasons, that same canine is considered a piece of equipment and as such, has no rights to department funds for his upkeep,” said Jay Meranchik, founder of National K-9.
Many administrators and officers are backing the new bill that will provide for retired tactical dogs. Caddell has sent letters to Michigan officials, asking for their support of the bill once it reaches Washington.
“Nobody wants to see these dogs mistreated,” Caddell said.
Taxpayers and budget-writers needn’t worry about how the care will be funded. The bill suggests using two percent of illegally-obtained cash that has been confiscated in searches and seizures, many of which have been conducted with the help of canines.
The Ann Arbor Animal Hospital is holding a fundraiser this Sunday, the 30th to help spread the word and provide care for currently inactive police dogs. Teaming up with Groom N Go, there will be an auction, bake sale, garage sale and dog wash from noon until 4pm at the animal hospital. Czar, a celebrated dog now retired from the Ann Arbor Police Department, will be making an appearance.