INDIANAPOLIS — Five retired military dogs, who spent years working overseas in war zones, are currently finding new motivation by helping police combat the war on methamphetamine and other drugs. The dogs are being stationed at departments in Georgia, Indiana, Nebraska, Tennessee and Texas as part of a project that will give police a needed resource they couldn’t otherwise afford.
The dogs who are back from war areas are “ready to work,” says Mike Thomas, a Harris County sheriff’s officer and board member for the Houston based K9s4Cops, which will be using a $25,000 grant from Westport Pharmaceuticals in St. Louis to get the dogs and help train them for police work with their new handlers.
AMK9 Academy, in Anniston, Alabama, is where many of the retiring dogs are sent to. It is here that they are accessed for health and behavioural issues and then repurposed as domestic working dogs for police departments and security companies or placed for adoption.
“They’re getting these hero dogs that are trained veterans coming back,” AMK9 managing director Paul Hammond said.
K9s4Cops and AMK9 teamed together to acquire the five military dogs, after Westport officials offered the grant on the condition that the dogs be deployed to areas with high meth rates. The reason being that battling meth is very labor intensive, dangerous and there’s a potential for environmental hazards. These dogs will be extremely helpful in helping to get drugs off the street and possibly saving lives.
One of the five dogs placed through the grant includes Axel, a five-year-old German Shepherd who spent three years in Afghanistan as a search and narcotics dog. Axel will spend the rest of his career in Indianapolis, where he’s been assigned to the Lawrence Township School District police force.
Axel and his handler, officer Matthew Hickey, spent six weeks at AMK9 training together and have already found marijuana and cocaine that resulted in three arrests in a drug investigation.