ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KPLR) - A local organization is seeking support for a memorial dedicated to retired and fallen police K-9s.
The memorial would be located at the new Tails & Trails Dog Park at Queeny Park.
The local non-profit P.A.W. Stoppers is the driving force behind the project.
K-9’s are more than man’s best friend, P.A.W Stoppers board member Mike Castellano said. The working dogs serve an important role in police work.
“Anything from finding narcotics to finding missing kids, finding a suspect that’s hiding in the woods that it would be dangerous for officers to go in,” he said.
P.A.W. Stoppers formed in 2007 with 8 dogs, Castellano said. It now includes 33 dogs from 15 departments in the St. Louis area. The organization raises money for local police K-9 units. As budgets for departments tend to shrink, Castellano said, P.A.W. Stoppers can help fill the void with training equipment, certifications, and funds for handling K-9’s in retirement.
The K-9 memorial would feature a life-sized, bronze-casted German Shepherd. The base will feature all the names of fallen or retired St. Louis County K-9’s. The Department has had 30 K-9’s since the program began in 1960.
St. Louis County Police Officer Scott Miceli, a handler for Yago, a 3-year-old German Shepherd, said the memorial is long overdue.
“These dogs do so much for us,” Miceli said. “And it’s nice that we’re given the opportunity to give back to them. They don’t ask much from us at all except to be loved on. When they pass, it will be nice to have something to remember them by.”
P.A.W. Stoppers set a goal of $20,000 to build the memorial and has launched a GoFundMe campaign, called “St. Louis County Police K-9 Memorial.” A barbeque fundraiser for the memorial is scheduled for June 25.