In a show of support, one Marshalltown business has decided to host a fundraiser to help the Marshalltown Police Department raise money to replace its K-9 units.
Sgt. Melinda Ruopp, with the Marshalltown Police Department, will have her partner, K-9 Awol, with her 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Hy-Vee, 802, S. Center St.
"It's just a different perception when you see them in real life," she said. "It gives them an idea of what the dogs do and how important they are to us at the police department."
Awol, the K-9 partner of Sgt. Melinda Ruopp, is seen in this file photo. Ruopp and Awol will be at Hy-Vee, 802 S. Center St., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to raise money to replace the Marshalltown Police Department’s K-9 officers.
The MPD is asking for donations to help replace its two K-9 officers: Awol, who has a degenerative muscle disease that will eventually render him unfit for police work, and Creasy, who suffered an embolism earlier this year, inhibiting his ability to perform police dog duties.
The MPD has yet to reach the halfway point of raising $60,000 to cover all the costs associated with the new dogs. What might seem like a high price tag allows the MPD to purchase the dogs from overseas, have them shipped to St. Paul, Minn. for 14 weeks of training and outfit new K-9 cars with appropriate equipment.
"The quality of dog you can get from overseas so greatly surpasses what you can get here in the U.S.," Ruopp said. "They are bred for the work I think it is worth it."
If you go ...
WHO: Sgt. Melinda Ruopp and her K-9 partner Awol
WHAT: Fundraiser to replace K-9 units
WHERE: Hy-Vee, 802 S. Center St.
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
John Goerdt, manager of store operations at Hy-Vee, said the store will also donate $1 to the K-9 fund for every bag of Chuck Wagon dog food customers buy this month.
Goerdt said he likes Hy-Vee to be one of the first places people come when they are looking for a civic partnership.
"It's good for the community to support the police department," he said. "They do a lot for the community."
Although the circumstances surrounding the dogs' retirements were at least partially unforeseeable, Ruopp said she would like to see the city start budgeting for K-9 related expenses. She will make another appearance at the store later in the month.