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Fundraising drive aims to fetch new police dog for department

Published 11:58 am, Saturday, June 15, 2013
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After the untimely death of Rocky, the New Canaan Police Department's dog, in a training accident, a drive is underway to bring a new one to town.

Toward that end, Erin Babrowicz and Kevin O'Shea, longtime New Canaan residents and owners of Affordable Mattress and Furniture in Norwalk, will donate 10 percent of the sales at their store in June and July to the Town of New Canaan K9 Fund. "I just thought that was such a horrible thing that happened," Babrowicz said, referring to Rocky's death. Rocky died April 7 when he choked on a ball during training exercises.

"We thought it'd be a good way to get the community involved. It really is important for the community to have a K-9."

Babrowicz and O'Shea also hosted a fundraising barbecue at their store on June 8 that Babrowicz said was well attended. She noted that all 200 of the hot dogs they served were purchased. The company has raised $1,500 since the beginning of June.

According to Police Capt. Leon Krolikowski, the dogs provide a lot of utility for the department.

"They help with finding missing persons, which we have a lot at Silver Hill," he said of the psychiatric hospital in the western part of town, and "assisting with investigations, like at the scene of a burglary. He's helped us with drug investigations, and is also a great public relations tool."

The K-9 program is not included in the department's budget, so the money to pay for a dog comes from private donors.

Babrowicz said her company hopes to raise $5,000 by the end of July. Because of its intensive training regimen, a police dog costs around $12,000.

With help from residents, the department is in good shape to begin the process again. Krolikowski said he still has a good amount of money left over from fundraising efforts from the last time the department purchased a dog.

"We were very successful when we first started the program, so we have a good balance in our account," he said. "The misperception that most of the public has is that the town pays for it. I have a separate fund and the dog is paid for entirely through that. Lots of people have contacted us since the dog passed away so we have incoming contributions. It won't be any issue to restart the program and have a new dog."

Michael McFadden, the officer who took care of Rocky, will also be in charge of the new dog.

twoods@bcnnew.com; 203-972-4413; @Woods_NCNews