OAKHURST — Law enforcement K9 teams will be demonstrating their skills for the public during a special event at Oakhurst Community Park on Saturday, Mar. 26, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Madera County Sheriff’s Office, in cooperation with the Madera County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, has launched a GoFundMe campaign to boost the number of K9 teams available to assist patrol deputies in their work. This event is part of their fundraising effort, providing citizens with the opportunity to see just how valuable these K9 teams are to the efforts of the Sheriff’s Office.
Over the past decade, the K9 Unit has been reduced to just one team, and with budget challenges and the high cost of dog acquisition, dedicated people are working hard to bolster those numbers. Everyone is encouraged to come out and watch these highly skilled dogs and their handlers, and support the effort to build out the Unit.
“In the past, there have been up to four dogs at one time,” says Sheriff Varney, who notes that everywhere he has worked, there has been a well-run K9 program that has paid off in officer safety and service to the community.
“If we need a dog to track or help clear a building, we’ve had to request dog teams from other agencies, and we hate for that to be our first strategy,” says Varney. The one dog now on duty with the S.O. is trained only for narcotics detection. “The long-term goal is to have four dogs in total, with two being cross-trained for tracking and apprehension, and either narcotics or explosives.”
J. Carol and Laura Young of J. Carol Realty in Coarsegold are doing the leg work to make this event happen, and plan to have demonstrations by K9 Teams every half hour, starting at 11 a.m. There will also be raffles and hot dogs, with the good folks at Miller’s Landing donating the food.
More vendors and raffle prizes are needed, so anyone interested in participating or donating is asked to call J. Carol at 559-676-2485.
“The existence of a patrol K9 Unit at the Madera County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division greatly enhances our agency’s capability to track down, locate and capture wanted offenders in rural and urban environments, and detect illegal narcotics in our communities and schools,” says the Sheriff’s Office. “The employment of K9 assets can greatly reduce safety risks to the citizens and law enforcement officers of Madera County, while increasing our agency’s effectiveness in apprehending criminals and preserving the peace.
“Your generous donation to this program will go directly to this effort and is tax deductible as well. We truly appreciate any monetary donations to this much needed program.”
If you are unable to attend, you can support the cause at https://www.gofundme.com/wwsrzdhw