SOUTHINGTON — The American Legion is hoping to raise around $5,000 for the Police Department’s canine unit.
The money will be used to buy first aid kits, training gear and pet oxygen masks.
Last month the American Legion paid for two dog handlers to attend a pet first aid and disaster response class at Bristol Hospital. That’s when Steve Pintarich, a legion member, learned Bristol police have first aid kits for police dogs after a dog was shot.
“When it happened ... (Bristol) had no first aid kits. They just grabbed the dog, put it in a car and ran it to the ER,” Pintarich said. “That is what got them thinking about first aid kits. From a financial standpoint, we’ve invested $30,000 in a dog. In a human standpoint, it’s part of that officer’s family. If something were to happen, I feel we need protection for them.”
Southington police have two German shepherds. Officer Steve Salerno works with Lou, and Officer John Mahon trains Arno.
“We really appreciate it,” police Sgt. Jeffrey Dobratz said of the American Legion’s fundraising efforts.
Pintarich said once the police department compiles a list of items it needs, he will send letters to civic organizations asking for donations.
“My idea is to raise between $3,000 and $5,000,” Pintarich said. “I think everything they currently need can be covered with less than $2,000 and the remainder of money will be there and if they need things going forward.”
Donations can be sent to the Southington American Legion.
“It’s a big help,” said Dobratz. “It helps out everyone in the town, saving money in our training budget.”