The Berrien Kennel Club (BKC), based in Berrien County, Michigan, recently decided to help its community in a big way. And of course, it involved a dog.
On Tuesday, October 15th, the club presented Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey with a $10,000 check to help the county’s K-9 Unit. The money will be used to replace one of the unit’s two dogs.
L-R: BKC board member Judy Hinkelman; Berrien County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Haskins; Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey; BKC President Margaret Russell; BKC Vice President Janet Turnage-Nahikian
BKC club members voted to make the donation after a September presentation by Deputy Jason Haskins and his partner, Rico, a 7-year-old Belgian Malinois. Haskins and Rico have been partnered since 2008. He told club members that Diesel, a German Shepherd Dog handled by Deputy Marc Hopkin, would be retiring at the end of the year due to back issues, and would need to be replaced. Hopkin also would be transferring out of the K-9 unit, leaving the unit needing a new dog and handler. Club members felt they needed to step in to fill the gap.
Sheriff Bailey has announced that the search is on in the department for a new handler. The handler will then go down to Vohne Liche Kennels near Peru, Indiana, for training. The kennel specializes in police service dogs, and the dog and handler will go through a six-week course in early 2014. Once the new team graduates, they will join Haskins and Rico in the K-9 Unit. Bailey said the dogs are used primarily with the Narcotics Unit, but they also are on call 24/7 to help find missing persons or to track down suspects.
BKC raises money for dog-related activities through its two annual AKC-sanctioned dog shows. The club is an advocate for purebred dogs and responsible dog ownership, and sponsors educational activities for dog owners and breeders throughout the year. The club also offers annual educational scholarships for veterinary and veterinary technician students.