Columbia County Report: Business leaders pay for new K-9 deputy, Columbia County Senior Services holds fundraiser

The sheriff of Columbia County is thanking business leaders for helping the agency get a new K-9, and an organization is raising money to help people with demen
Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 5:15 PM EDT
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LAKE CITY, Fla. (WCJB) - The sheriff of Columbia County is thanking business leaders for helping the agency get a new K-9, and an organization is raising money to help people with dementia.

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New K-9 Deputy

Columbia County Sheriff’s Office deputies gathered to introduce the community to their new K-9 deputy, Chaos, on Tuesday.

Business leaders came up with the money to purchase a new dog for the sheriff’s office after the passing of K-9 Drago in June. Drago suffered heat illness while training.

Sgt. Steven Khachigan says it costs about $17,000 to purchase the new K-9 and the necessary equipment.

“The loss of Drago left a void in the position and agency but it also left a financial hardship when you’re trying to replace that asset and the K-9 unit is something very valuable to our agency and the community,” Khachigan said.

Khachigan says the K-9 unit is used to sniff out drugs, apprehend suspects, and find missing people.

Columbia County Sheriff's Office introduces K-9 Deputy Chaos
Columbia County Sheriff's Office introduces K-9 Deputy Chaos(CCSO)

The dogs have many skills that human deputies don’t. The unit was recently used to track an elderly woman with dementia who wandered off.

“Their noses are much better than ours in terms of being able to smell and pick up on a scent and track that scent. Once they get on a track they stick with it - they are able to differentiate between different scents that humans can’t do,” Khachigan explained.

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Penny Wars Fundraiser

Columbia County Senior Services is raising money to fund its dementia day program. Businesses in the area are participating in the “penny wars fundraiser”

Pennies are donated in jars at participating businesses, while competitors are able to add silver coins to deduct points from one another.

Money raised will help pay for a day program that allows caregivers a place to drop off loved ones with dementia.

The contest runs through Oct. 31.

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