While the Galt Police Department is determining what to do about police dog Yaro and adding another K9 officer to the unit, a local resident is spearheading fundraising efforts in honor of fallen Officer Kevin Tonn.
The money could go to purchase a new police dog or two.
"I felt maybe as a community we could help out," said longtime resident and fundraiser organizer Carrie Graham. "If the police department is short, so is the community with one less dog out there protecting us."
Through donations, she hopes enough money will be raised to replace Yaro by the end of the month and the department's other police dog by the end of summer.
With training, police dogs cost between $10,000 and $13,000, according to Police Chief William Bowen.
Yaro was the partner of Tonn, who was killed last month in the line of duty.
The dog, who will likely be retired, is currently living with Tonn's cousin and fellow Galt Police Officer Jarrett Tonn. However, the dog has spent the weekend making celebrity appearances alongside Galt K9 Officer Brian Nino and the Foothills K9 Association.
Nino, currently Galt's sole K9 officer, will continue to work alongside his K9, Bo, for now, but Bo is nearing retirement age, Bowen said.
"It's very possible we'll end up with two new dogs," he added.
Prior to his death, Tonn was already working to raise money to buy another police dog for Galt by selling sweatshirts, T-shirts and coffee mugs in his spare time. The money likely would have gone to replace Bo.
Yaro was purchased by Foothills K9 Association, where Tonn had just been named director. It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing care to the region's police dogs.
The organization plans to assist with Yaro's care in any way that may be needed, and will continue to aid the Galt K9 Unit as they rebuild and strengthen their program.
In the next week or two, the department plans to rotate officers into the open K9 officer position before settling on a permanent replacement and choosing a dog to fit that handler, Bowen said.
Tonn was killed on Jan. 15 while responding to a burglary call, following a physical confrontation with Galt resident Humphrey Gascon II, who police say shot Tonn before turning the gun on himself. Tonn was transported by ambulance to a south Sacramento hospital, where he died, while Gascon died on the scene, near the railroad tracks in Galt.
Gascon's toxicology report is not yet completed, and police are still reviewing the weapon the suspect used, Sacramento County Sheriff's Department spokesman Sgt. Jason Ramos said Monday.
Today's fundraiser will be held from 4 to 8 p.m., at Mountain Mike's Pizza, 10400 Twin Cities Road in Galt, with a portion of the sales going toward the police department. Several K9s are expected to attend to meet the public.
Donations can also be made online at www.foothills-k9.org.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.