KENNARD, Ind. – A rural Henry County community has a new member on the police force. Jasper, a roughly two-and-a-half year old pit bull, started this week as a narcotics canine.
Jasper and his handler have spent the past few weeks training, but the dog's journey to Indiana almost never happened.
"Pit bulls are normally the first to be euthanized,” said Jasper's handler, Kennard Deputy Chief Don Crabtree. "There’s too many of them in the shelters and everybody goes and kind of by-passes them."
That was Jasper's story, until he got noticed by the Throw Away Dogs Project, which visits shelters looking for dogs with good traits that are sought for police and other duties.
The non-profit found Jasper in Virginia and took him home. From there, Jasper began getting training to find narcotics. An issue that's not immune to Kennard, a town of a few hundred people.
"Heroin, cocaine, meth, and what it boils down to, unfortunately, statistics show smaller towns is where the drugs go," Crabtree said.
Throw Away Dogs Project started in 2014. To date, its placed 26 dogs back in to communities across the country in a positive way to assist police, servicemen and people with a disability.
The organization's founder, Carol Skaziak said the organization doesn't charge police for a canine, and it only looks for donations.
So far, the Town of Kennard has given $550 to the organization, as a thank you for Jasper.
"You’re looking at the range of $10,000 to $15,000, it could even be higher, depends on where the dog comes from," Crabtree said. "If it wasn’t for them, I really don’t think we would have him."
Kennard police have started a GoFundMe to raise more money for the organization. Some of the proceeds will always be used to help with costs of keeping the dog healthy and on the police staff.
"Luckily, someone seen something in Jasper," Crabtree said.
The pair met neighbors in the community earlier this week. Jasper is also expected to help police pass out candy during Halloween.