Donations Fund New K-9 Deputies in Geauga Co.

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MUNSON TWP., Ohio— Three new "deputies" will be joining Midge and Marko at the Geauga County sheriff's office, and at no expense to the department.

Midge is the narcotics dog, and Marko is trained to sniff out explosives.

The retirement of one K-9 and the passing of two others left a void at the sheriff's office.

Sheriff Dan McClelland said there was no money to buy and train three K-9s since each dog costs $8,000.

The community, led by the efforts of John and Mary Wheeler of Wheeler Landscaping, raised more than $24,000 to buy and train three dogs.

"People donated money in memory of their pet and as an expression of thank you, perhaps for service they received at a call," Sheriff McClelland said.

The Rotary Clubs of Geauga County and Fairmount Minerals also made donations.

Sheriff McClelland said the three dogs will be trained to do general police work, but it is their scenting ability that helps in so many situations.

"Tracking, both suspect tracking, which is somewhat of an aggressive work, to tracking of victims. Tracking of lost children and perhaps someone suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's," explained Sheriff McClelland.

Deputy Mike Matsik is Marko's partner and said his expertise was needed just the other day.

"We had the bomb threat at the courthouses. I relied upon him to tell me if there was an odor that was present in any of the three buildings," Deputy Matsik said.

According to Sheriff McClelland, there were 24 full-time deputies at the time of this report.

The addition of the three dogs means that a state certified K-9 will be assigned to each shift, helping to patrol the 400 square miles of Geauga County.