The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Benevolent Posse has kicked off Project Deputy Dog to raise $160,000 to add two new K-9 deputies to the Sheriff's Office team.
Funds would be used to purchase two additional replacement K-9s, as well as pay for unanticipated, nonbudgeted expenses related to the program, according to a spokeswoman.
One of the sheriff's K-9s is getting close to retirement, which creates an urgent need to add an additional dog trained in patrol, tracking and bomb/explosive detection to the unit, the spokeswoman said.
Additional K-9s would also allow for two narcotics-trained and two bomb-trained dogs in the county, as well as provide round-the-clock, 365-day coverage countywide.
The new K-9 the Benevolent Posse hopes to fund would be assigned to custody operations and used for the detection of illicit drugs within the county's detention facilities.
"Our K-9 corps is an invaluable asset in the county's law enforcement efforts," said sheriff's Lt. Kevin Huddle, who supervises the department's K-9 program. "They are an extremely efficient part of our department and can accomplish feats that are impossible for our human deputies."
Funding would also be used for the K-9s to receive basic law enforcement training; specialized training for tracking; narcotics and bomb detection; food/veterinary care; specialized equipment; and other needs, the spokeswoman said.
Project Deputy Dog is being led by Sue Pohls, Benevolent Posse board member and Solvang resident.
"This is a cause (that's) easy to get passionate about, especially for any of us who are dog lovers," she said.
For more information about the effort or to donate, visit www.sbsheriffsposse.org.