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Published: Thursday, 4/18/2002

German Shepherd is newest member of Wauseon force

BY JANE SCHMUCKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

WAUSEON - A black-haired, German-born female named Ana was approved by Wauseon City Council as the newest addition to the police department Monday.

Ana, a German Shepherd who is just over 1 year old, is thought to be the city's first police dog. She is expected to arrive in the city in six weeks to track criminals and missing people and help officials find guns and knives that were used in crimes and drugs.

When she finds what she is seeking, she is trained to sit down, look up at her master, and wag her tail, police Chief Bob Brehm told council. Since coming to the United States from Europe, she has been trained by a former law enforcement officer at a kennel in Lima, Ohio.

Wauseon is to buy her for $5,500 and spend more than $1,000 a year on her keep.

The city budgeted $270 a year for food for the 60-pound dog that is expected to grow to 85 pounds.

Her health insurance will run $325 a year and liability insurance $540.

The city borrowed dogs like her from neighboring law enforcement organizations seven times last year at no charge.

Chief Brehm said owning Ana will allow police more timeliness in sniffing out drugs or following a trail.

German Shepherds have the most success picking up a trail that is less than two hours old, he said.

When Wauseon borrowed a dog recently, it took about an hour and a half for it to arrive in the city.

The Fulton County sheriff's department has had dogs in the past but retired its last dog recently.

Ana likely will work for the city about 12 times a year including checking out vehicles at random traffic stops and searching houses on warrants, Chief Brehm predicted.

The rest of her time will be spent at the home of her handler, patrolmen Kenny Blankenship.

This spring she will be hauled around in a police cruiser, minus the backseat.

But council approved measures to use the fire chief's four-wheel drive, sport utility vehicle for her and buy a new vehicle at a cost of up to $28,000 for the fire chief.



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