Thursday, July 19, 2007

Introducing Willow

The Pomona Police K-9 unit was at the Pomona Library yesterday and I thought I would share what I learned. Canine Officer Cesar Rivera brought a two year old bloodhound named Willow to meet the children. Not suprisingly, Willow spent the entire time smelling things and people. Rivera said that Willow is trained to trail human scent only. Willow has found several children, an alzheimer's patient and a couple of bad guys. She was purchased by the Eagles Lodge for $12,500. When Willow is not on the clock, she lives with Rivera and his family, where Willow is especially tight with Rivera's daughter.

Willow's eyes were slightly bloodshot. Rivera explained that bloodhounds have a rough lower eyelid, so over time, it irritates their eyes to the point where they become more and more bloodshot.

Officer Rivera said that his other K-9 dog, Marco, a Belgian malimois, was still out in the air conditioned police car. The officer said several times that he would not be bringing Marco inside "because he would bite you." He went on to explain that Marco was specifically trained to track and bite people, and to protect Rivera. He said that Marco can run 40 miles per hour and is able to track narcotics and jump 7 foot fences.

Officer Rivera said that the City of Pomona has eight police dogs. He said that Pomona has more dogs than any other local department, other than the Los Angeles Sheriff's Dept. He said that Marco was also purchased by the "EAgles" for a mere $7,500. Officer Rivera said that none of the Pomona police dogs are German Sheperds.

Rivera said that he rides around in his car with both Marco and Willow in the back seat. He said that they are separated by a divider, and that they can not even see one another as they ride in the car. He said that otherwise, Marco would (you guessed it) bite Willow.

When the dogs are retired by the City, the trainer can buy them from the City for $1 and keep them as a family dog. Rivera will clearly do that with Willow, who seemed very sweet and gentle, but I think retirement will be much less rosey for poor Marco.

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