SALEM, Ohio (WYTV) – COVID-19 has hurt everyone in some sort of way over the last six months. For Salem’s police K-9 unit, they’ve haven’t been able to get the money they need.
Officer Mike Garber is one of two Salem police officers with a K-9. His dog Simon travels with him everywhere he goes, but it takes a lot of money to run a K-9 unit.
“It’s little things that happen throughout that cost us money. People don’t realize we have to buy rewards for the dogs, we have to buy food for the dogs, we have to buy all this stuff,” Garber said.
Things such as first aid kits for the dogs can cost about $200-300. A collar that goes on Simon cost $280.
“He’s a living, biological thing like us. He doesn’t always listen to everything that he’s told, and if he’s chasing a bad guy across the street and I need to recall him, this is how I can communicate to him to stop if he doesn’t hear me because of traffic, people yelling and everything like that,” Garber said.
Typically, the K-9 unit gets its money from community donations through holding fundraisers or demonstrations for the public.
“When COVID hit, obviously, we had to limit ours. We weren’t allowed to do any more demos, no more public events. That caused a lot of problems because that was a lot of our outreach,” Garber said.
They get around $8,000 in donations a year.
Now, Garber is applying for the Aftermath K-9 Grant, which awards up to $5,000.
“In these cases, it’s going to go towards new equipment, new car kennels, new heat alarms as they just become worn from general use,” Garber said.
Every Sunday, Garber holds “Simon Sunday.” It’s a way to keep his K-9 in the public eye. He is also planning a new fundraiser.
“We’re going to have a couple of raffles and stuff like that so that way, it’s limited contact and we can do raffle tickets, and that should make things a little bit easier for us too,” Garber said.
The raffle starts next week. Tickets are available at the City of Salem Police Department K-9‘s Facebook or Instagram pages or from one of the officers.