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Fund raiser collects money that goes to the dogs

November 12, 2018

FORT MOHAVE — Patrol dogs working at the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office are maintained through donations collected by the Mohave County Sheriff’s K-9 Foundation.

Nov. 4 was the occasion of a major fund raiser for the foundation with the 2018 K-9 Car Show at Mohave Market Place.

People can directly donate to the foundation, of course, but organizers prefer to offer a variety of ways to help the dogs stay in shape to do their work for the MCSO and county residents.

Nearly 90 classic and unique vehicles were on display, with an auction of items donated by area businesses as well as 50-50 and prize raffles.

“They do much more than just bite,” said John Sanchelli, who serves on the foundation’s board, about the specially trained dogs.

One of the dogs sniffed out liquid methamphetamine during a traffic stop, that was stored under the hood of the car in the vehicle’s windshield washing fluid container.

K-9s are also used to help authorities find missing people and clear buildings, Sanchelli said.

K-9 units demonstrated some of the tasks they are trained to carry out.

One of the dogs detected illegal drugs in boxes placed on the ground.

According to literature handed out by the foundations, K-9s have 220 million olfactory sensory cells compared to humans who have only 40 million.

The dogs also showed the crowd at the car show how they apprehend a suspect, using their mouth on the person’s arm to hold them for their handler.

A volunteer wearing a padded suit and played the role of a suspect. He moved around and taunted each K-9 unit to show how the dogs are trained to stop and hold suspects with their mouth and jaws.

The handler can ask the dog to let go. But if the suspect continues to behave in a way that the dog perceives as a threat to its handler it will intervene to keep its handler safe, Sanchelli said.

A group of youths walked away impressed after asking a variety of questions about the dogs.

Brittany Cunningham, age 6, summed up her thoughts about the dogs by describing them as “strong and awesome.”

The dogs are trained to think they are playing when they pursue suspects, said Bullhead City Police Department Cpl. Sean Watson, who used to be an MCSO member and previously had a K-9 partner.

Watson volunteered to be the suspect in demonstrations at last year’s foundation fundraiser and spoke during this year’s event.

MCSO doesn’t allocate budget money for these highly trained dogs to work for the department. The 501(c)3 nonprofit foundation covers costs for the dogs’ food, equipment, supplements and veterinary needs. This is the source of money for the purchase of new dogs as well as for training the dogs and their handlers for such duties as missing person tracking, sniffing out illegal drugs and suspect detention so the officer can safely apprehend the person.

K-9 handlers-patrol officers provide a home for their furry and energetic partners, however.

The foundation also sells logo T-shirts and small stuffed toy K-9s wearing tiny black protective vests decorated with MCSO patches and emblems named Hero Dogs. The toys come in a variety of fur colors.

A golf tournament to benefit the MCSO K-9 units is planned for Feb. 23 at the Los Lagos Golf Club.

For details about the foundation and to learn about donating money to help keep the K-9 units at work, go to https://mcsk9f.com or telephone Sanchelli at 651-270-0920.

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