GLEN - The newest addition to the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department was all business Thursday as he sat alert with ears perked while Sheriff Michael Amato presented him with his badge.
K-9 Kilo, a 20-month-old 80-pound purebred German shepherd began working with corrections officer Eric Krug earlier this month.
Kilo was fully trained and certified in tracking and detection of drugs by Deputy Jason Nare, who works with K-9 Bear on the road.
The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan
Montgomery County corrections officer Eric Krug, left, looks on as Sheriff Michael Amato places a K-9 officer’s badge on Kilo, the new K-9 police dog at the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, on Thursday.
Amato said Nare's certification to train the dogs in-house saves the department about $10,000 per dog when travel expenses and time are taken into account.
Kilo was purchased for about $3,500 through donations and fundraising money.
Kilo's parents were born in Germany, and Krug said he has an excellent prey or hunt drive, which is the natural ability to develop skills to sniff or scratch out and alert their handlers of contraband. Amato said German shepherds like Kilo usually cost about $7,000.
Krug said Kilo enjoys his work.
"It's like a game for him," Krug said.
Whenever he picks up Kilo's work leash at home, the dog knows it's time to work and gets excited, spinning in circles and wagging his tail, Krug said.
The county pays for the dog's food, and veterinarian bills are paid for from a fundraising account.
"There's minimal cost to the taxpayer," Krug said. "Fundraising is something that we have to keep doing. We have to work together to keep these programs alive."
The Sheriff's Department's Drug Abuse Resistance Education program is also funded through fundraising events such as a golf tournament. Deputies split the proceeds of that fundraiser between DARE and the K-9 program.
This year's tournament will be held Aug. 29 at the Canajoharie Country Club at a price of $75 per person, which includes a cart, meals and a gift. The department also is looking for sponsors for the event. To sponsor the golf tournament or contribute to either program, call the Sheriff's Department at 853-5500 for more information.
Krug said the department will have to buy a new K-9 after 9-year-old Bear retires in a few years.
Krug said he loves working with Kilo, who lives with him and his family at home.
"It's always exciting," he said. "There's always something new, and it's fun to train them and make them better. It's like watching a child grow up. Sometimes, I spend more time with him than with my own family."
Kilo is Krug's second K-9 partner. He worked with another German shepherd until he retired earlier this year.
Amanda Whistle covers Montgomery County news. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org