This year, Petplan pet insurance welcomes 50 new working police dogs to its pack of protected pets. Thanks to a joint effort with the National Police Dog Foundation, the company was able to offer grants for a year of fully funded pet insurance to 50 K-9s (a tenfold increase from the five grants awarded last year).
Recipients were selected from a nationwide pool of applicants, many of whom represent police departments in small towns without funding for their K-9 program. Often, the cost of the dogs’ care must come from donations or their handlers’ pockets. No one knows better than Petplan how unexpected veterinary bills can wreak havoc on budgets, so the company committed to helping ease this financial burden on our public servants—while guaranteeing the best possible medical care for hardworking police dogs.
Many police departments cited concern for the K-9s’ occupational hazards in their applications.
Seth Hager, a police sergeant in Huntersville, North Carolina, wrote, “Huntersville is a suburb of Charlotte, which calls for extreme and dangerous K-9 deployments. [Our K-9s] conduct narcotic sniffs, article searches, apprehension of fleeing suspects, high-risk SWAT warrants, and assist the VICE narcotics division on a daily basis.”
Richard McAuliffe, chief of police in Hawthorne, New Jersey, also worries about the risk of drug exposure to his K-9.
“[Neighboring city] Paterson is the third largest city in New Jersey with a large volume and impact of narcotics trafficking in and out of our municipality. Nero is the only municipal narcotics K-9 in Passaic County,” he wrote.
The concern is valid—according to Petplan claims data, treatment for illegal drug exposure cost an average of $782 in 2017.
Toxic substances aren’t the only threat K-9s face in the course of duty. Titan, a K-9 based in Fullerton, California, is trained in suspect apprehension as well as narcotic detection.
Fullerton police officer Matt Green wrote, “Being a suspect apprehension K-9, Titan will be exposed to dangerous situations. Thus, his chances of being injured are greater.”
Injuries related to altercations with suspects could include fractures (averaging $1,365* to treat), lacerations ($707*) and puncture wounds ($761*). Should any of the 50 new Petplan grant recipients sustain these injuries, the cost of their care will be covered.
Of course, in addition to the job-related hazards that come with being a police dog, K-9s face the same risks of illness and accidental injury as any family pet—as the Latrobe, Pennsylvania, police department learned the hard way when its previous K-9 had to be put down after receiving several surgeries to treat an aggressive cancer.
Latrobe Chief of Police James Bumar wrote, “Rocky had many health problems… we accumulated thousands of dollars of vet bills.”
Luckily, Latrobe’s new K-9 will be covered by Petplan—and cancer treatments (at an average cost of $2,321*) are covered as standard under Petplan’s policies.**
“Police dogs put their lives on the line every day for their communities, and they deserve access to the best possible medical care,” said Jim Reilly, president of the National Police Dog Foundation. “We’re so grateful to Petplan for helping to protect the health of these four-legged heroes.”
The K-9 Health Insurance Fund was first created in 2017 with a donation from Petplan, which was used to fund the initial five grants. Petplan donates $50 to the fund for each new pet insurance policy booked using the campaign code “NPDF10,” with further funds being raised by the National Police Dog Foundation and contributed by public donors.
Following is a complete list of all 50 winners of the Petplan and National Police Dog Foundation grants for 2018.
Kratos, Cottonwood Police Department (Cottonwood, AZ)
Axel, Village of Apple Creek Police Department (Apple Creek, OH)
Rico, Prairie du Chien Police Department (Prairie du Chien, WI)
Kaz, Huntington Park Police Department (Huntington Park, CA)
Tracker, Silver Spring Township Police Department (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Edo, Perryville Police Department (Perryville, MO)
Max, Upper Moreland Township Police Department (Willow Grove, PA)
Nero, Hawthorne Police Department (Hawthorne, NJ)
Elvis, Waxhaw Police Department (Waxhaw, NC)
LucyJo, Albion Department of Public Safety (Albion, MI)
Sniper, Geauga Park District (Chardon, OH)
Cupa, Paris Police Department (Paris, TX)
Rudy, Upland Police Department (Upland, CA) (pictured above)
Coale, Amory Police Department (Amory, MS)
Jackson, Pound Police Department (Pound, VA)
Norris, St. Clair Township Police Department (East Liverpool, OH)
Charr, Clintonville Police Department (Clintonville, WI)
Blitz, Bradley Police Department (Bradley, IL)
Bragi, Ripley Police Department (Ripley, OH)
Bryan Lawrence, Superior Police Department (Superior, AZ)
Stihl, Huntersville Police Department (Huntersville, NC)
Pancho, Newton Police Department (Newton, KS)
Nitro, Gulf Shores Police Department (Gulf Shores, AL)
Nanuk, Gladstone Police Department (Gladstone, OR)
Lobo, Glendale Heights Police Department (Glendale, IL)
Zane, New Braunfels Police Department (New Braunfels, TX)
Vito, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department (Albuquerque, NM)
Ayke, Ector County Sheriff’s Office (Odessa, TX)
Radko, Borough of Berlin Police Department (Berlin, NJ)
Ivar, Decatur Police Department (Decatur, IN)
Jet, Park Rapids Police Department (Park Rapids, MN)
Jake, Dayton Police Department (Dayton, OH)
Oskar, Tremonton Police Department (Tremonton, UT)
Ranger, Benton Police Department (Benton, IL)
Axel, Pflugerville Police Department (Pflugerville, TX)
Trexx, Highland Park Police Department (Highland Park, MI)
Luke, Atascadero Police Department (Atascadero, CA)
Titan, Fullerton Police Department (Fullerton, CA)
Zane, Lewisboro Town Police Department (South Salem, NY)
Akiro, Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office (Santa Fe, NM)
Zeus, Latrobe Police Department (Latrobe, PA)
Takoda, Fort Bragg Police Department (Fort Bragg, CA)
Robbi, Franklin Police Department (Franklin, MA)
Hulk, Brookings Police Department (Brookings, OR)
Max, Sedona Police Department (Sedona, AZ)
Puma, Green Bay Police Department (Green Bay, WI)
Axel, East Ridge Police Department (East Ridge, TN)
Max, Altoona Police Department (Altoona, WI)
Tello, California City Police Department (California City, CA)
Lando, Oshkosh Police Department (Oshkosh, WI)
*Average treatment costs according to Petplan 2017 claims data. **Subject to Petplan policy terms and conditions.