AMSOIL is involved in races and events all over the country, but one event we especially love is “Operation K-9,” which supports the AMSOIL Northland Law-Enforcement K-9 Foundation.
AMSOIL founder and lifelong dog lover Al Amatuzio started the foundation when he saw a need for consistent funding to support K-9 programs at law-enforcement agencies in and around Superior, Wis., and Duluth, Minn. Although Amatuzio had for years purchased dogs and supported K-9 programs on his own, he wanted a permanent solution. The foundation currently supports five local agencies with 12 dogs. Two more dogs will be added this year.
The foundation holds “Operation K-9” each year to help with community outreach and fund-raising. Handlers and their dogs put on a show to demonstrate the dogs’ capabilities, while providing a chance for residents to interact with the dogs up-close.
This year’s event took place the second week of June. Take a look at the images.
Helps police agencies pay for K-9s
K-9 officers are no ordinary animals. They’re bred specifically for their intensity and ability to perform difficult tasks while being easy to train.
As you can imagine, K-9s aren’t cheap; one dog can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000 – not including training or daily care – and can originate from Hungary, the Czech Republic or Canada. Most law-enforcement agencies can’t support K-9 programs by themselves.
The AMSOIL Northland Law-Enforcement K-9 Foundation contributes up to $10,000 toward the purchase of a dog. The foundation’s goal is to one day cover the full purchase cost. Without support, the costs of K-9 programs would come right out of a police force’s ever-tightening budget. Without help, most agencies couldn’t afford to put K-9s on the street.
Critical to law enforcement
A K-9 can identify a person, explosive device, narcotic or other target 4-6 times faster than its handler due to a sense of smell 10,000 times stronger than a human’s.
Most K-9s specialize in detecting narcotics or explosives. A narcotics K-9 is often used in traffic stops. If an officer sees paraphernalia or suspicious activity in the vehicle, he or she will sweep the vehicle with the dog. Officers could never conduct as thorough an investigation on their own.
K-9s are also used to keep the community safe in ways some people might not even know. For example, K-9s can sweep the premises for explosives prior to a college graduation or similar event.
Paired with handlers from day one
Typically, when an agency wishes to purchase a dog, a handler is first chosen. Upon delivery, the K-9 is placed immediately with its handler to begin training. Dogs are taught all the skills needed for duty, such as tracking, obedience and agility. When dogs are working in the field and get the command to go, it’s like a game – they think it’s time to play and they focus on the tasks at hand. But, when they return home with their handler, they integrate into the family like a pet.
AMSOIL is proud to partner with others in our community to support and fund the AMSOIL Northland Law-Enforcement K-9 Foundation. Our support also includes the Annual 5K Run for the Dogs each fall in Duluth, Minn.
If you would like to support K-9 programs throughout the country, visit https://www.uspcak9.com or look for local events and programs in your area.