Gino, the bomb sniffing Youngstown State University police dog, has a new home thanks to a donation from Home Depot.
On Aug. 20, the YSU police station received a donated dog kennel, valued at $329, to be used as a joint shelter for Gino the German Shepherd and strays rescued from the streets. The donation was made in association with a local Corrections Corporation of America project to equip police stations with doghouses and kennels.
The kennel, an 8-by-6-by-6 A-frame style kennel, will allow YSU police to house stray or abandoned dogs picked up around the city, which has been an issue in the past for YSU’s police force.
“We used to have trouble with strays in [Smokey] Hollow. There was a whole pack of them down there. We caught all of them, but the last one became very smart, and eventually a team went down and managed to catch him. He’s since been adopted by a lady who had been feeding him in [Smokey] Hollow. So, there are stray issues in the city,” YSU Police Chief John Beshara said.
Partnered in a program started by Special Investigative Supervisor Jim Conroy of the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center, Home Depot allows police stations to purchase dog kennels from them. In this instance, Home Depot donated the kennel. Following the kennel donation, local Boy Scouts will build a doghouse inside the kennel as added protection.
“We wanted a place for the K9 to stay while police are inside doing their paperwork. This way the dog isn’t left in the car,” said Joe Tiberio, a 17-year Home Depot employee, who was on-site delivering the kennel.
Police, often called on to respond to stray or abandoned animal complaints, do not always have the facilities to safely house strays in a way that protects them from the elements, leaving the animals to either continue running free in neighborhoods or passing them along to shelters, where the potential for being euthanized rises significantly. Having a kennel and doghouses on the premises allow the police to house strays safely for a longer period of time, giving any animal’s owner a chance to reclaim them, as well as opening a new avenue for pet adoption.
“The best thing the kennel gives us is options. If we get a stray, we can keep it here with us, and it allows us to deal with the situation in any number of ways. Maybe an officer will adopt it, maybe someone else from the community will come out to adopt it. If not, it gives us time to get on social media, community bulletin boards and the like and advertise any dogs we find for people to adopt. Eventually the dog warden will have to take any strays, but it buys the dogs some time,” Beshara said.
Beshara hopes that the community will respond to the police force’s newest asset by calling the police concerning stray or abandoned animals first, lessening the load on local animal control.
“We want to make sure the community knows we have this asset … it’s a great way to mitigate the abandoned animal problem,” he said.