New Albany Police End K-9 Program, Will No Longer Have Their Own Police Dogs


UPDATED: Thursday April 18, 2013 7:15 PM

The New Albany police department is down one crime-fighter after its chief decided to disband the K-9 unit.

New Albany officials said Fanto is no longer their police dog and that there are no immediate plans to replace him.

Fanto replaced Bungee in September 2011 after the former police dog was killed in a traffic accident.

A New Albany spokesperson said the goal for each dog was the same--to assist officers while providing community outreach benefits.

"Our first dog, Bungee, was fantastic in all of those things,” said Scott McAfee. “Our second dog, Fanto, was really good at the drug aspect but didn't really have the personality to be used in community outreach programs."

McAfee says Fanto also caused a problem for the police department when he bit a man last November.
A police report says the bite happened at a gas station shortly after Fanto's handler left his police cruiser to help someone who was lost.

"He went to get out of the car and the dog followed him, got out of the car and unfortunately ended up biting a person on the hand,” McAfee said.

The police report says the victim’s bite required twelve stitches.

City officials said New Albany police returned the dog to its trainer in January and dropped the K-9 unit altogether.

"We just decided to take a step back instead of getting a third dog,” McAfee said. "We're a small agency. We needed a dog, if we're going to have a K-9 program, to be able to do all things well."

Other police departments say they cannot imagine working without a K-9 unit. Gandolf has been working with his handler Officer Jason Berner and the Genoa Township police for a little more than a year.

"The community loves these K-9s,” says Genoa Township Police Chief Robert Taylor.

Taylor said Gandolf is a highly skilled dog that also does well with the public. He expects his K-9 unit to stick around for a long time.

"I think it's an invaluable tool for law enforcement,” Taylor said.

But a police dog is a tool New Albany police will be without for the foreseeable future.

New Albany officials told 10TV they will have to rely on outside agencies when they need a K-9 unit.

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