As the K-9 unit for the San Gabriel Police Department, Bentley and Edy play an important role in fighting crime in San Gabriel.
By Cheryl Cabot
However, maintaining a canine unit is costly, and that is where SGK9S.ORG comes in. According to their website, “Partners with SG K9’s Organization is completely independent of the San Gabriel Police Department.” The money raised by the organization is used to maintain the high quality of life for the dogs.
The funds are used for a variety of items such as training for both the dogs and their handlers, as well as providing safety equipment for the K-9 Unit, including bullet-proof vests, which are $1,500 each, and first aid kits. Another costly, yet very important expense, is health insurance at $3,500 a year for the two canines.
The insurance and first aid kits are especially important for Bentley as a drug sniffing dog. If he inhales fentanyl while sniffing out drugs, he must immediately be given the antidote spray, or he could die.
Sue Fitzsimmons, President of SKG9S said, “This is why I’m so concerned about raising money, and of course this year with COVID it’s been really difficult to raise money because we can’t have any community events. So, we are looking again to the public to help us out.”
“It’s a nonprofit so all the money raised goes directly to the Canine program, and we want to make sure that our dogs are well taken care of.”
This year SKG9S didn’t raise enough to pay for the insurance, critical for the Canine Unit, especially since Bentley and Edy face dangerous situations on a regular basis. That is when the members of San Gabriel Hope Lions Club stepped in to help.
After learning about the financial shortfall for insurance from Sue Fitzsimmons, San Gabriel Vice Mayor and Lions Club member, Tony Ding, began calling the other members of the Lions organization. The Club hosted a “Walk for Health” to help raise funds and generate awareness of the cost of maintaining the K-9 Unit.
Within two weeks $1,200 had been collected, which was enough to pay the balance of this year’s insurance, due the end of March. This was not money from the Lions Club coffers, but from the individual members.
“The San Gabriel Lions Club is hoping to continue to support the K-9 Unit in the future,” Tony Ding said, “any additional funds raised above the $3,500 for the insurance will be carried over to the next year for additional expenses.“
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