Archive for Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Leavenworth woman successful in raising funds for dog vests

July 25, 2001

The county drug dogs now are vested.

Thanks to a drive started by Kathleen Farley, Leavenworth, funds have been raised to purchase vests to protect drug dogs from bullets and knives. Leavenworth County and the city of Leavenworth own the dogs.

At Friday's presentation at the county's justice center attended by the drug dogs and their canine handlers, Sheriff Herb Nye thanked Farley.

Accompanying Farley were her parents, Sandra and Darrell Fisher, McLouth. Farley is a 1991 graduate of McLouth High School.

The three vests, which cost about $500 each, are constructed from the same material as protective vests worn by officers.

Farley was pleased with the results of her crusade.

She had first read about fund-raisers for dog vests in a magazine.

"I felt that the dogs deserved the same protection that the officers got," Farley said.

The officers, who live and work with their dogs, said the dogs could wind up working in dangerous situations, and the vests could help.

"We hope to never put the dogs in harm's way," said Sgt. Brian Holmes, the county's canine officer who works with Illo, a German shepherd who responds to commands in German.

Lee Doehring, Leavenworth chief of police, said his department has had a drug dog since the 1980s.

The dogs have done good work, he said, as well as fostered good community relations.

"One of the criteria we have is that we want a dog that does the job and that works, and that is able to be aggressive but only to be aggressive on command," Doehring said. "We take the dogs into schools and the kids come up and put their arms around their necks. They're like pepper spray or other weapons you need to be able to use them for protection but you also want them to be able to be passive."

The drug dogs in the county and city of Leavenworth are Illo; Kai, a Czechslovakian shepherd handled by Dep. Doug Rollison; and Aron a Belgian malinois handled by Leavenworth police officer Steve Herring. The city of Leavenworth has another drug dog, Kikkert, who at age 10, is almost ready for retirement, Nye said.

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