NEWARK, Ohio (AP) — Utica police dog Blaze knows a little something about forbidden love.
A 3-year-old Belgian Malinois, Blaze was content to chase birds in the backyard at home and fight crime with police officers at work.
Then came the girl.
Blaze’s co-handlers, husband-and-wife Officers Cameron and Krystal Dailey, got Luna, a female Belgian Malinois, last spring when she was 8 weeks old. She’s been training for her police dog certification with the Utica officers.
The Daileys had planned to breed the two dogs eventually, with the hopes of donating puppies to other Ohio police departments, but not for a few years. So when Luna was in her first heat, the Daileys intended to keep the two apart.
Everything was going well, said Dailey, until “Blaze, Mr. Houdini,” took matters into his own paws and broke out of his kennel when the Daileys weren’t watching.
“Apparently neither one of them passed their sexual harassment training,” Dailey said.
Luna recently gave birth to seven puppies— one female and six males.
Luna is doing well, already picking back up with her obedience and tracking training, Dailey said. Blaze hasn’t missed a beat either, chasing after his toy balls with boundless energy on a recent Thursday morning at the Daileys’ Newark home after having worked the third shift with Mrs. Dailey the night before.
Steve Dunham, vice president of the Ohio Law Enforcement K-9 Association, said he can’t recall any recent instances of Ohio police dogs from the same department having puppies.
The decision to have a police dog spayed or neutered varies, Dunham said, and is typically left up to the department and the handler. While it sometimes makes sense for female police dogs to be spayed, the majority of police dogs are males, so even if they’re not neutered, their handlers don’t have to deal with heat cycles or possible pregnancy. Some departments also prefer to avoid putting police dogs under for a medical procedure unless it’s completely necessary, Dunham said.
“Any time you put a dog under anesthesia, there’s always an element of risk there,” he said.
The Daileys, who joined the Utica police department last summer, will look after the puppies until they’re about 8 weeks old and can be placed in the right homes. The couple plans to donate at least two of the seven puppies to other Ohio police departments— Streetsboro and Broadview Heights in northeast Ohio —where they’ll train as police dogs, and calls about the puppies continue to roll in, Dailey said.
Those departments participate in the same Buckeye Area Regional K-9 training program as Luna and Blaze, so mom and dad will get to see two of their little ones every week, Dailey said.
To get a police dog and train it can cost anywhere between $8,000 and $16,000, he said.
Utica’s K-9 division is supported through donations and fundraisers, and the community has been quick to congratulate the proud puppy parents and their handlers.
“The community, they’ve been wonderful,” Dailey said. “Everybody’s just going crazy. They love the dogs.”
Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com
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