K-9s Attack Verdugo Park

Cindy Garcia

The dog is considerate to be man’s best friend, but when a man breaks the law, police dogs forget about their fraternal friendship to fulfill their duty as K-9 units. Yet, the Glendale community, even some of those who have been arrested by police dogs before, supported their four-legged police friends in the first “Glendale K-9s in the Park”.

The event was held Oct. 10 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Verdugo Park across campus. The reason of the event was to raise money for the Glendale police dogs, known also as K-9 Units.

“The purpose of the event it is to raise money to for our K-9 unit which is donation based only,” said officer Shawn Sholtis, a K-9 handler. “The cost of annual maintenance of the K-9 unit is about $15,000, but we also need to raise money to replace dogs once they retire.”

The Glendale Police Department has four K-9 units: Sam, Yudy, Quwai and Marlin. These German Shepherds were born and trained in Germany to serve as police dogs. Since they were previously trained in Germany, they don’t understand English. All commands are made in the German language.

Sam is trained as a hard surface tracking K-9, but he is the only dog certified for explosive detection and able to detect about 14 odors of materials that are most commonly found in explosive devises.

“He is trained to find suspects that are hiding from us,” said Sholtis, who also said Sam is trained “to find explosives and articles that people throw when they’re running from us.”

Yudy, Quawai and Marlin are trained and certified as hard surface tracking K-9 units like Sam, but they also certified as narcotics detectors. K-9 Yudy has the record of finding the largest amount of opium in Glendale worth almost $100,000.

Officer Feeley, the handler of K-9 Yudy, had a funny encounter during the event when she found someone she had arrested before and was excited to see Yudy again.

“They yelled, ‘is that Yudy?’ and I said back, ‘yeah’ and he yelled back, ‘Oh my God that’s the dog that arrested me!'” Feeley said “It was very funny and they were actually very nice.”

The approximate cost of a police service dog is $6,000 plus about an extra $12,000 for their respective trainings, not including the $2,800 for their food, equipments and health care services but finding a person who has been previously arrested by a K9-unit supporting a police dogs’ event is simply priceless.

During the event, the K-9 units had live demonstrations of acted suspects’ persecutions. Two Glendale police officers played the role of suspects while the K-9 units went after them and showed their persecutor skills.

The “suspects” wore arm sleeves and suits designed to protect their skin from the strong and powerful bites. They were also properly trained with a 60-hour class to “know how to take bites”.

“You need to pay attention to the dog body language and see if it’s going to go for your leg and catch it on time on the sleeve” said officer Jacob Postajian, who has been a volunteer for about three years. “You only get nervous when you don’t have the sleeve on and you don’t know the dog.”

There were other different demos and activities for the participants to enjoy, such as: the fly ball for dogs, pet costume contest, pictures taken with the K-9s, face painting, pet adoption, low cost vaccines, the Hollywood Obedience Club and pet first aid demonstrations.

Andres Lozano from Burbank brought his family, including Lucas, his Chihuahua terrier mix, to watch the K-9 demos and took advantage of the low-cost vaccinations.

“My kids loved the demo and were really exited to see the police dogs,” said Lozano. “We are enjoying the activities and already took our dog for his first vaccines.”

There were also raffle tickets and auctions. One of the prizes for the action was to ride with a police officer and a K-9 unit for a half shift.

“They get to come with us and watch what we do and how we train and what exiting activity we may encounter during the day.” said Feeley.

K-9 units retire after working for about five to seven years and then new units replace them.

“Probably all four of our dogs will retire within the next four years,” said Freeley. “That’s another reason we are doing this fundraiser because it’s going to take so much money for the new dogs to come in.”

Their handlers purchase them for a dollar from the city to realize them for liability permitting the dog to stay in a familiar environment.

“They become our personal dogs and get to live out the rest of their life at the house and with the people they are used to.” said Sholtis.

The Glendale Police Department was pleased with the outcome of the event.

“I think is a great event and we are pretty overwhelmed of how many people showed up . there’s got to be at least a thousand people here,” said Glendale officer Alex Ronaldo “It’s a great fund-raiser for the [K-9] program and if it wasn’t for the public we wouldn’t have dogs.”

The Glendale K-9 unit is funded by donations from the community, organizations and businesses. Donations can be made to the Glendale Police Foundation and sent to P.O. Box 10142, Glendale CA 91209. For more information visit www.glendalek9.com