Durham County

Grant to allow Hillsborough police to put more bark in its budget bite

Hillsborough K-9 Viper (left) and Durham K-9 Prinz (right) recently retired from police service. The Durham Kennel Club and American Kennel Club donated $11,000 to the Hillsborough Police Department to purchase another police dog.
Hillsborough K-9 Viper (left) and Durham K-9 Prinz (right) recently retired from police service. The Durham Kennel Club and American Kennel Club donated $11,000 to the Hillsborough Police Department to purchase another police dog. Submitted

The Hillsborough Police Department has received a donation of $11,000 to purchase a new police dog from the Durham Kennel Club and its parent organization, the American Kennel Club.

Representatives of the local club visited Hillsborough on Saturday Nov. 18 and presented a check to Police Chief Duane Hampton and Mayor Tom Stevens. Durham Kennel Club representatives were Director Bob Wisniewski and member Joyce McHenry. Linda Wozniak, delegate to the American Kennel Club, was also on hand

Although the presentation of the grant follows the recent retirement of K-9 Officer Viper, the donation had been discussed since March, when representatives of the local club approached Cpl. Scott Foster with the idea. Foster is the handler for K-9 Officer Vader and worked out the grant’s details.

Durham police also recently announced the retirement of K-9 Prinz from service. Prinz served in the Durham Police Department for almost eight years.

The cost of training and purchasing a police dog can range from $10,000 to $15,000, depending on the breed and other factors, said Hampton. The department budgets to replace retiring dogs, but the grant from the Durham Kennel Club and AKC allows the department to spread resources further and prevent an “either-or” situation, Hampton said.

The K-9 officers are all-purpose dogs, but about 99 percent of their use is in tracking and drug detection, Hampton said.

Hillsborough maintains two police dogs.

“We are very proud of our K-9 program, and this generous support from the Durham Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club will help us continue it and make it stronger,” Hampton said in a town release.

The donation — $6,000 from the Durham Kennel Club with a $5,000 match from the parent club — is provided through the American Kennel Club’s Canine Support and Relief Fund, which helps to replace service dogs, including police K-9s.

As a condition of the grant, the Police Department will add a small decal displaying the club’s Reunite logo to the town’s K-9 vehicles. The AKC Reunite program supports implanting microchips in pets for the recovery of lost pets. It includes microchips, collar tags and around-the-clock recovery experts. The program has helped reunite over 400,000 lost pets with owners since 1995.

“Hillsborough so appreciates our police department and loves our K-9s,” the mayor said. “We are so fortunate to have this wonderful support from the kennel clubs just as K-9 Viper is retiring. The donation does make a big difference.”

Police dogs usually retire between 6 and 10 years of age. Vader, who started work with the town in 2014, is 5. Viper, who officially retired on Nov. 13, is 8.

Cliff Bellamy: 919-419-6744, @CliffBellamy1

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