The Ashbritt Foundation donated to the K9 Relief Fund of Key West. County Commissioner Holly Raschein, on behalf of Ashbritt, presented Chief Sean Brandenburg with a check for $16,000.00.
The fund was founded by philanthropists Becca and Tom Ahrensfeld to support the working dogs of the Key West Police Department. Since there is no retirement plan for police dogs, this fund helps the officers with the expenses of owning a dog after it retires.
"We are thrilled to accept this generous donation on behalf of the K9 Relief Fund," said Chief Brandenburg. "And we are grateful to the Ahrensfelds for their amazing support of our K9 Unit. As a former handler myself, I can attest to the importance of caring for these dogs when they retire."
K-9 officers are a vital part of the department, assisting with suspect pursuits, narcotics investigations, and more. A canine can smell over 100,000 times stronger than a human, so a properly trained police dog can save a department some 600 to 1000 man-hours annually. The dogs face dangers like their human counterparts, including potential gunshot risks or other injuries and life-threatening exposure to fentanyl and other dangerous substances.
There is no retirement plan for police dogs, although they can, in retirement, experience a variety of health issues, including separation anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. A full 100 percent of a retired dog's expenses fall on the handler. That includes all food, medication, and vet bills.
The City of Key West Police dogs are Jigsaw, a German shepherd born in Slovakia on December 17, 2017, and handled by Officer Tommy Anglin; Mango, a yellow Labrador retriever born in Mexico and handled by Sgt. Jesse Hammers; and Dexter, a German shepherd born in Florida in 2014 and handled by Officer Matt Hansell.
The Community Foundation of the Florida Keys manages the fund. For more information, check out their website by clicking here!