PALESTINE -- The Palestine Police Department will soon have a new four legged addition to their force. After negotiations with Universal K9, located in San Antonio, "K9 Blue" will be able to call the department her home on Friday, March 13.

"They contacted us and we have a police dog grant program where we go out and rescue dogs," Brad Croft of Universal K9 said.

The department was able to move forward in January with getting a match from Universal K9, a 10 month old blue heeler, or Australian cattle dog. She will make for the fourth force dog that the department has had to date.

"It benefits the department because if we have to do any drug searches we don't have to rely on somebody else to bring a dog in," Lt. James Muniz of the Palestine PD said.

She was donated thanks to the company's Police Dog Grant Program that provides trained canines to departments unable to afford them otherwise. After an evaluation she was selected to begin training which she completed with "flying colors."

The dogs are trained to work in difficult situations with officials and are trained as protection, arson, narcotics and explosives dogs as well as other services. "It just depends on what the police department is looking for," Croft said. "Mainly it's narcotic work."

According to Muniz, K9 Blue is not only trained as a narcotics dog, but also a tracking dog. "If we have some elderly person or a child lost in the woods, this dog is trained to track people like that," Muniz said.

K9 Blue is among nearly 150 dogs that Universal K9 has rescued from neglectful homes to place in areas assisting police and military in different areas around the country.

"Initially, what we did was, we would import pure bred (dogs) from over seas," Croft said. "Mainly now we rescue dogs and train them for police and military work."

K9 Blue was rescued along with her brother and sisters in 2014, and will be arriving in Palestine this Friday. According to Croft, his organization is very pleased with the match they facilitated, and Blue's rescue and new lease on life is a "Cinderella story."


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