A small police force in rural Indiana now has a new K9 officer -- who was saved from almost-certain euthanasia hundreds of miles away.
Jasper is a 2-year-old pit bull who this week became the new narcotics canine at the Kennard Police Department; however, his journey to the small Henry County community almost never happened.
The puppy was found at a Virginia animal shelter by the Throw Away Dogs Project, a non-profit that visits shelters looking for dogs who could become K9 officers or service dogs.
The Kennard police department started a GoFundMe page to raise money for the organization, which does not charge police for the canine and only seeks donations. Some of the proceeds raised will also go to help with the costs of keeping Jasper healthy and on the police staff.
“Pit bulls are normally the first to be euthanized,” Jasper’s new handler, Kennard Deputy Chief Don Crabtree, told FOX59. “There’s too many of them in the shelters and everybody goes and kind of bypasses them.”
He added: “Luckily, someone seen something in Jasper.”
Jasper got the attention of the group, members of which took him home and started training him to find narcotics – which has become a problem in Kennard, the station reported.
“Heroin, cocaine, meth, and what it boils down to, unfortunately, statistics show smaller towns is where the drugs go,” Crabtree said.
The officer said without the non-profit -- which has placed 26 dogs in communities across the country since it started in 2014 -- the Kennard police department could probably never afford a K9.
“You’re looking at the range of $10,000 to $15,000, it could even be higher, depends on where the dogs come from,” Crabtree said about the price of a police dog. “If it wasn’t for them, I really don’t think we would have him.”
Crabtree and Jasper have spent the past few weeks training and Jasper was introduced to the community earlier this week.