Financial difficulties for the city are hitting the police K-9 unit.
A New London police K-9 is being forced to retire because the city can't afford to pay for his arthritis medication.
Buck has been a member of the New London Police Department's K-9 team since 2008, but recently developed arthritis, which has hindered his ability to work. Without medication, the department has been forced to retire Buck.
“The city must balance law enforcement needs with financial and physical realities. If a K-9 is having significant health issues a retirement is a proper way to ensure the dog gets the rest, care, and lifestyle it has earned and deserved,” said Mayor Justin Finizio in a statement Thursday.
With Buck’s retirement and another K-9, Bessie, being donated to another law enforcement agency, New London now has just one police dog in the force. New London residents have banded together to help raise money to pay for Buck's medication, which costs $180 per month.
As soon as City Councilor Marie Friess-McSparran realized Bessie was also leaving the force, she and Goldy’s Restaurant owner Anita Miller decided to begin a fundraiser for to cover the cost of Buck's medication in an effort to keep him on duty.
“We don’t want to lose the dogs one by one for various reasons and then have no K-9 unit," Miller said. "It's a city that needs a K-9 unit."
Friess-McSparran agreed. "We live in a city where we have the highest crime around, and to ask mutual aid from other cities that may not be able to respond in time is unsatisfactory,” she said.
This city has been dealing with serious financial difficulties. Mayor Finizio has said the police department cut could begin to take effect next December.
“We’ve had police officers that are leaving the city for fear of being laid off,” said Friess-McSparran.
But the city councilor said there’s enough money and that it’s a lot bigger than just Buck.
“The mayor and police chief have wanted to eliminate this component of the police department for some time,” said Friess-McSparran.
Organizers hope to raise enough money to make sure Buck’s needs are taken care of for the rest of his life as well as the needs of any other New London K-9s.
The fundraiser will take place Sunday night at Goldy’s Restaurant in New London from 5 to 8 p.m.