‘Dallas’ hits the streets in La Porte
LA PORTE – The city welcomed its newest police officer on Saturday and was acknowledged with a wag of the tail.
In April, the La Porte Police Department received a donation for a third K-9 unit. The dog – now known as Dallas – was bought in Hungary, and brought back to the United States for training.
Dallas is a 19-month-old male Mal-Shepherd whose training consisted of six intense months alongside his handler, Officer Josh Sponaugle. Training took place in Berrien Springs, Michigan, where Dallas and Sponaugle completed the course in September.
“It is impressive the amount of progress training can make in a short time” Sponaugle said.
“I enjoy working with Dallas. He is a take-home dog and is friendly around my family. When I put this uniform on though, he knows it’s time to work.”
Pavey and his wife, Mona, owners of Pavey Excavating Co., pledged to donate the full cost of a trained police dog, not a small tab.
A properly trained K-9 can cost as much as $14,000, not including ongoing training or equipment such as kennels, collars, leashes, vests and special cages for patrol cars.
“La Porte has been good to us and our family over the years and we thought it was time to give back,” Gene Pavey said at the time the donation was announced. “We know there’s a problem with drugs in the community, and we saw there was a need for another dog, so this is what we wanted to do.”
Since hitting the streets last month, Dallas has already managed to help detain and identify four subjects in drug cases.
A dual-purpose dog, he he can sniff out narcotics, and track people and objects by their scent. Dog and handler currently work night patrols in La Porte,
Dallas understand both English and German commands, and wears a special collar instead of a vest.
Sponaugle has been a police officer for 11 years, the last eight and a half in La Porte.
“This is a wonderful gift from Mr. Pavey,” Sponaugle said, “The impact this dog will have on the community will be great.”