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Short-staffed K-9 unit puts on a show

Glendale police dog demonstrates her abilities as her comrades recover from health issues.

October 15, 2011|By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com
  • Head K-9 trainer Daniel Inglis spins Santa Barbara Sheriff's K9 Betti during K9's in the Park demonstration at Verdugo Park in Glendale on Saturday, October 15, 2011. (Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)
Head K-9 trainer Daniel Inglis spins Santa Barbara Sheriff's…

Yudy, Glendale’s only full-time police dog left, flew in circles about four feet above the ground as a man pretending to be a suspect tried to fling her off his arm. The more he spun, the harder she bit down on his protective padding.

“That just shows how much pressure they exert on their bite,” Police Officer Maribel Feeley, Yudy’s handler, said at the K-9 in the Park event Saturday in Verdugo Park to raise money for the police dogs.

The Glendale Police Department’s three other dogs, Marlin, Sam and Quwai, are all struggling with medical issues. Marlin and Sam retired this summer, and Quwai works part time doing drug searches.

The Glendale Police Foundation is raising money to buy and train another dog. The department is set to get a new dog paid for with federal funds in January, but the foundation is on its way to having enough money to get a second dog.

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The foundation has raised about $20,000 so far, a little bit more than it made last year because of a jump in sponsors at the third annual K-9 event, said Treasurer Mary Anne Plumley. She said the foundation is on track to collect even more.

Officer Shawn Sholtis, Sam’s handler, said news of the slim K-9 unit has helped bolster support.

“I think people see there is a need for funding because the dogs are retiring,” Sholtis said, in between posing for pictures with Sam.

It costs about $21,000 to buy and train a dog, Feeley said. The foundation used the money raised last year on the dogs’ medical needs and new equipment, Plumley said.

Quwai also showed off some of his skills Saturday, but due to medical issues Sam and Marlin could not. To make up for the small group, other K-9 units from Santa Barbara, Santa Paula and Cal State Northridge participated in the skills demonstration.

The dogs chased down Daniel Inglis, a police dog trainer acting as a suspect, bit his arms and also stopped short of attacking when he surrendered and put his arms up as onlookers applauded.

“The K-9 unit has been such a great asset to the community,” Plumley said.

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