The dogs perform such tasks as detecting narcotics, sniffing out explosives, tracking suspects, searching for cadavers and even protecting officers from harm.
The highly trained animals don’t come cheap. Purchasing a dog and training their human police handlers runs about $16,000 per dog. A dog serves between five and seven years on average, and they are often the first in harm’s way.
So it’s no surprise that some agencies struggle to maintain a cadre of K-9 units, especially given the limits of public funding that must also cover salaries, education, facilities vehicles, weapons and other equipment.
As Staff Writer Jonathan Roberts reported Feb. 17, Jonesborough’s K-9 staffing has been bolstered by the efforts of Ruth Verhegge and her Paws in Blue organization. Her work has helped raise about $50,000 for far, helping the department acquire three K-9s. Paws in Blue also supports the dogs during their service — food, veterinarian bills, etc. — the costs of which run about $3,000 per dog, per year.
You can help Paws in Blue help the Jonesborough Police Department on Tuesday, March 10, just by dining on pizza. The Pizza Plus at 211 Headtown Road will contribute a portion of all sales from 5-8 p.m. to Paws in Blue. Verhegge hopes to raise about $1,000.
We encourage anyone who appreciates the hard work of law enforcement officers and their canine companions to drop by, but you can also support the organization with direct donations anytime. For more information, visit the town services section of the town of Jonesborough’s website at jonesboroughtn.org or the Jonesborough Paws in Blue page on Facebook.