‘9K for K9s’ race to raise money to pro­tect dogs

Char­ity event pro­ceeds will be in­vested in heat alarms, first-aid kits

Orlando Sentinel (Sunday) - - LOCAL & STATE - By Joe Mario Ped­er­sen Or­lando Sen­tinel jped­er­[email protected]­lan­dosen­tinel. com, 407-420-5268, @JoeMarPed­er­sen on Twit­ter or @JoeMar­i­oPed­er­sen Jour­nals on Face­book

The Orange County Sher­iff’s Of­fice and other Cen­tral Florida law en­force­ment agen­cies are look­ing for help sup­port­ing their K-9 dogs through an up­com­ing char­ity race.

The “9K for K9s” event takes place 8 a.m. Dec. 1 at 3710 Ja­son Dwelley Park­way, Apopka, and 100 per­cent of pro­ceeds will go to­ward life­sav­ing equip­ment nec­es­sary for law en­force­ment dogs.

K9s United started rais­ing money for K9 dogs four years ago in St. Johns County. This will be the first time the 9K, 5K and 1-mile fun run char­ity events will be or­ga­nized in Cen­tral Florida, said Robert Ramos, mas­ter deputy with the Orange County Sher­iff ’s Of­fice K-9 unit.

“This event isn’t just to sup­port the dogs in Orange County but also 18 Cen­tral Florida agen­cies,” he said. “These dogs are ex­tremely im­por­tant and we got to make sure they’re pro­tected. They’re more than just a part­ner or a dog rid­ing a long in a car. They do things a lot quicker and safer than any deputy can do.”

The pro­ceeds will be in­vested to­ward bite suits, first-aid kits and heat alarms.

“That’s our No. 1 pri­or­ity is to equip ev­ery K-9 unit with a heat alarm,” Ramos said.

K-9 dogs are usu­ally left in a K-9 unit pa­trol car with the air con­di­tion­ing run­ning. Heat alarms alert the deputy if the air has shut off for any rea­son, Ramos said.

“The win­dows will come down, the sirens will go off and the deputy will re­ceive an alert on their phone thanks to an app,” he said.

K-9 heat-ex­po­sure re­lated deaths do hap­pen. In 2016, a Kis­sim­mee K-9 re­port­edly died of heat stroke af­ter a po­lice of­fi­cer left his part­ner, K-9 po­lice of­fi­cer Igor, in his car with­out air con­di­tion­ing.

The 9K event will sup­port 30 of Orange County’s dogs — 18 pa­trol dogs and 12 sin­gle-pur­pose spe­cialty dogs for tasks such as track­ing peo­ple or iden­ti­fy­ing nar­cotics.

Race en­try fees are $18. The ap­pli­ca­tion can be filled on the day of the race or at K9­sunited.org/events.

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