NEWTON, Iowa– A stray pup is earning his stripes as the newest K-9 for Newton Police. Smokey will be the department’s first police dog in 25 years.
The 1-year-old Border Collie mix isn’t your typical drug dog.
“We didn’t want that perception of a big scary dog,” said Chief Rob Burdess.
But don’t let the sweet-faced, tail wagging pup fool you. His nose will help police fight crime.
“Find dope,” new handler, Officer Zach Walker, commands.
Walker is training for the next four weeks with Smokey. The pair is working on tracking and narcotics detection.
“The trainers who have done it for a long time make it look very easy,” he said.
Dennis George, owner of Midwest K-9 Protection and Detection, rescued Smokey from the Animal Rescue League. He says the police dog loves people and is a hard worker, but it will take some time for the new partners to learn each other’s cues.
“It’s a combination of the dog learning to work with the handler and the handler bonding and understanding his dog,” explained George.
The K-9 program costs about $60,000. The community has donated about $8,000 to the program since December.
Smokey should be ready to hit the streets by the beginning of April.