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Officer K9 Jet

K9 Jet [Facebook]

A two-year-old Pit Bull mix was rescued from an animal shelter and trained to be a detection dog.   After becoming an officer in the New Haven, Missouri Police Department, he did some public service work like visiting schools, senior centers and community events.  Then, just seven months after joining the force, he showed his real worth as a police officer when he made a big drug bust.  Way to go, K9 Jet!

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Last May, the New Haven, Missouri, Police Department swore in its newest officer – but this one has four legs and a tail. K9 Jet was rescued from an animal shelter in Philadelphia. A foundation paid for his training in Texas before he came to work in Missouri. Was it worth it to take a cast-off, homeless shelter dog and invest all that time and training?

Late last month, the Missouri State Highway Patrol called in K9 Jet and his handlerto assist with a traffic stop. The dog used his well-trained noseto help authorities find 25 pounds of marijuana, 8 kilos of cocaine, and drug paraphernalia in the possession of two individuals, who were arrested. So, the law enforcement officers involved in that case thought K9 Jet was a great addition to the team.

About the same time K9 Jet was assisting in the drug bust, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that a dozen people had been infected with a drug-resistant superbug - four of them were hospitalized. All were linked with a national pet store chain which sells dogs that come from puppy mills. Five of those infected were employees of the pet store chain. There has long been a link between contact with sickly young animals produced by mass breeding operations and human bacterial infections.

If you were looking for a new pet, where would you go? Imagine how different things might have gone on the highway that day if that furry canine officer had remained just a shelter dog. There are good reasons to adopt a pet from your local shelter, and K-9 Jet is a great reminder there are many homeless animals that, with a little attention and training, can become great pets - or companions - even great law enforcement officers.

So, when you are looking for a pet, resist the urge to buy from a pet store. Visit your local shelter, where you could not only save a life but find a healthy furry friend who will appreciate having a home and a person to love. And with a little training – well, you might not have a working dog like K9 Jet, but you will have a devoted friend, when you’re speaking of pets.

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Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.
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