Suc­ces­sor planned for K-9 of­fi­cer

Trainer will do­nate new dog, pro­vide free ini­tial train­ing

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Front Page - By Bill DeBus bde­bus@news-her­ald.com @bde­busnh on Twit­ter

Perry Vil­lage Po­lice Depart­ment is re­ceiv­ing a new dog that will be trained to suc­ceed K-9 Of­fi­cer Zack, who died un­ex­pect­edly Oct. 31.

That an­nounce­ment was made at the Nov. 8 Perry Vil­lage Coun­cil meet­ing by vil­lage Po­lice Chief Troy Hager.

Plans call for pair­ing the new K-9 of­fi­cer with vil­lage Po­lice Lt. Michael Collins, who also part­nered with K-9 Of­fi­cer Zack for 1 1/2 years. Zack, a 3-year-old Bel­gian Mali­nois, died af­ter ex­er­cis­ing with Collins in a vil­lage park prior to the pair mak­ing an ap­pear­ance at a day­care cen­ter.

Hager said on Nov. 8 that Master Trainer Mark Allen of North­east Pa­trol Dogs in Jef­fer­son, who pre­pared Zack to serve as a K-9 of­fi­cer, will pro­vide Perry po­lice with an­other dog at no cost. Allen also will con­duct ini­tial

train­ing for the new K-9 free of charge.

“We’ve had an out­pour­ing of many peo­ple ask­ing how they can do­nate to the K-9 pro­gram and get it started again, and we’re very for­tu­nate that our master trainer is go­ing to take care of that,” the chief said.

Hager an­tic­i­pates that train­ing for the dog will start in about four months, once North­east Ohio’s win­ter weather sub­sides.

“(The trainer and dog) do a lot of out­door train­ing,” he said. “You get into re­ally bad tem­per­a­tures and stuff like that, it’s hard on the of­fi­cer and the dog, for the amount of time they spend out­side.”

With train­ing sched­uled to take six weeks, Hager is hop­ing to have the new K-9 of­fi­cer ready to be­gin pa­trolling with Collins by late spring or early sum­mer.

In the mean­time, vil­lage po­lice and govern­ment lead­ers are pre­par­ing to con­duct a me­mo­rial cer­e­mony for Zack at 9 a.m. Nov. 10 out­side of Vil­lage Hall, 3758 Cen­ter Road.

The Perry Po­lice Pa­trol

Of­fi­cers Benev­o­lent As­so­ci­a­tion will un­veil a me­mo­rial marker for Zack that will be placed at the base of the flag­pole in front of Vil­lage Hall.

The event will will also in­clude the pre­sen­ta­tion of Zack’s re­mains to Collins; a ri­fle vol­ley; and mu­sic from a bag­pipe player. Mayor James Ges­sic also will present a procla­ma­tion hon­or­ing Zack.

Af­ter Zack died Oct. 31, the K-9’s body was trans­ported to Ohio State Univer­sity Vet­eri­nary Med­i­cal Cen­ter for a necropsy — the an­i­mal ver­sion of an au­topsy.

Pre­lim­i­nary find­ings didn’t in­di­cate a spe­cific cause of death, Collins said Nov. 9. It might take as long as 30 days be­fore a fi­nal re­port on the necropsy is re­ceived.

Zack’s body was cre­mated in Colum­bus and his re­mains, along with a paw print from the K-9, were de­liv­ered back to Perry. Hager said the com­pany that per­forms an­i­mal cre­ma­tions for OSU Vet­eri­nary Med­i­cal Cen­ter do­nated their ser­vices when it came to Zack.

(The com­pany) said be­cause it was a po­lice dog, they weren’t go­ing to charge us,” Hager said.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF PERRY VIL­LAGE PO­LICE DEPART­MENT

Perry Vil­lage Po­lice Depart­ment K-9 Zack and his part­ner, Lt. Michael Collins. Zack died on the af­ter­noon of Oct. 31 af­ter ex­er­cis­ing with Collins at Lee Ly­dic Park in Perry Vil­lage.

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