SALEM, Ohio (WYTV) – One local police K9 will be on TV next year. Simon, a four-legged officer who patrols in Salem, is getting time in the national spotlight on an A&E show.
Simon’s handler, Patrolman Mike Garber, calls “America’s Top Dog” the “American Ninja Warriors” for dogs.
Pretty soon, the country will see this duo competing for a chance to win $10,000 and an additional $5,000 for an animal charity of their choice.
In the final week of competition, top competitors will return to the finale course to battle for the title of “America’s Top Dog” and an additional $25,000 cash prize.
“We got told, ‘Hey, this time, we’re going to pick you up,’ and here you go. We’re going to go compete,” Garber said.
Each one-hour episode features four police K9 teams — three fan favorites from the TV show “Live PD” and one civilian team. They face off for the title of “Top Dog” in three rounds of competition testing speed, agility and teamwork.
“Once I got out there and I’m standing there, and I’m like, ‘Whoa, I have to go through all of this with him,’” Garber said.
He wouldn’t spill the beans on whether or not he and Simon won the competition. You’ll have to watch and see for that.
Leading up to that trip to Los Angeles, it took some rigorous training back home for Simon to prepare.
“We were working on our obedience every day and it just worked out because it fine-tuned him,” Garber said. “It made him a better dog for me on the road and it also got us ready to go for that competition.”
The Salem K9 Unit is completely funded by community donations. Garber said that support does not go unnoticed and, in turn, it makes the streets safer.
“One of the things the chief wanted to do is he said if we’re going to do a K9 unit, we’re going to do it right and because of our community support, I think we have the best equipment and best set-up for the dogs right now.”
They’re still not sure when Simon’s episode will air but the “America’s Top Dog” season premiere is January 8 at 9 p.m. on A&E.