BY SUE WEBBER
“Spitz” made his public debut at the April 11 Rogers City Council meeting.
The 18-month-old German Shepherd, the city’s new K-9, has embarked on a 12-week training period with his handler, Officer Blake Neumann.
The dog, bred in Europe, is being trained through McDonough K-9, based in Anoka. Dogs trained for the K-9 program act as a second police officer, especially during building searches and traffic stops, Police Chief Jeff Beahen said earlier. Spitz is being trained in tracking, apprehension and searching for drugs.
Spitz and Officer Neumann were on hand for the council’s recognition last week of donations from Burda Towing Co. and Veit and Co., which helped to make the K-9 acquisition possible.
“We have accepted two generous donations from good, solid businesses in our community,” Beahen told the council. “The only way to achieve our goal was to accept these offers. Veit was interested in providing funding to bring the canine program to Rogers. They have done the same thing in Wright County. They wanted to give back something of value to the community.”
Veit and Co., Inc., pledged $5,000 to the K-9 program; Burda Towing Co. has donated $500.
Veit, a specialty construction company, has offered to produce decals for the K-9 program free of charge, as well as a photo image of the dog to be reproduced on the side of a police squad car, according to Beahen.
An additional $12,900 to support the K-9 program has been pledged by Joseph and Rhonda Meath of Marine on St. Croix. The couple is recent lottery winners who have chosen to use their winnings to benefit law enforcement needs, Beahen said.
Beahen said that the Rogers K-9 was named after a dog in a Jack London novel titled “The Call of the Wild.”
He noted that the dog’s handler, Officer Neumann, now runs seven miles a day.
“When he and the dog graduate from school in 12 weeks, [Officer Neumann] will have to keep up with the dog,” Beahen said. “This [K-9] tool is only as good as the handler on the leash behind him.”
The city of Rogers previously had a K-9 program from 2006-10, according to Beahen.