FLINT TWP. — The pitterpatter of canine feet is coming back to the Flint Township Police Department with the acquisition of a new police dog, approved by the Board of Trustees at its Monday night meeting.
Police Chief George Sippert presented a plan to buy and train a new police dog to replace Bac, the previous dog which retired in December with its handler Sgt. David Stone. Three dogs have served the department in drugs and tracking work since it began operating a canine program in 1999.
Cost quotes for the new dog and equipment were obtained from Landheim Training Center in Dyer, Indiana ($12,500); K-9 Academy of Wayne ($10,900) and the Oakland Police Academy in Auburn Hills ($10,500), Sippert said.
Landheim was used in the past but the Oakland Academy was the least expensive and has several favorable reports, Sippert said in his recommendation.
Money to pay for the dog and an intensive six-week training course for it and its new handler would come from drug forfeiture funds already in hand, he said.
After careful deliberation, Officer Neal Donovan has been selected as the new canine handler, Sippert said. Donovan has been with the department for four years, has an excellent work record and was recommended by several master canine trainers, he said.
Trustee Franklin Kasle asked about ongoing costs for the animal beyond initial purchase and training costs. Sippert said costs such as food and veterinary care would be covered by drug forfeiture funds.
Kasle also raised questions about the dog’s care and well-being.
“For the last dog we had some controversy over how the dog was transported and where it would be kept at night,” Kasle said. “I’d hate to get into that again.”
Sippert said he anticipated no problems. The department’s police canine car is only two years old and available for use at no additional cost. The selected handling officer understands the expectations and parameters of the program and has passed a home visit showing where the dog would be housed, he said.
Treasurer Sandra S. Wright asked Sippert for assurance that the animal would be transported in a warm vehicle in cold weather. Sippert said yes and in a cool