BARBOURSVILLE — Police K-9s at dozens of local police stations are a little bit safer now after 85 canine first-aid kits were handed out to K-9 handlers by Little Caesars as part of its Pizza Pizza Paws campaign, which was started to help fund police dog units in West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio.
Little Caesars started the Pizza Pizza Paws campaign at 26 locations throughout West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio in April with the hope to increase support and awareness for the police K-9 divisions in those communities.
The 2019 campaign came to an end at the Cabell County 4-H Camp in Barboursville on Thursday as the kits were distributed in conjunction with the West Virginia Police Canine Association and Help for Animals during first-aid and field trauma training presented by Dr. Kelly Pinkston.
Sabrina Donahue-Moore, marketing director, said Pizza Pizza Paws started after Little Caesars learned the majority of K-9 units run on donations.
Donahue-Moore said at the beginning of the year, she sat down with Barboursville Police officer Tim Corbett to see what help the K-9 units needed. They came to the conclusion that the biggest need was for the first-aid kits and training on how to provide the best care for their K-9 partners.
“Not only do they get the kits, but now they also have the knowledge of how to use them,” Donahue-Moore said. “What they learned in this class can get them to where they are able to stabilize their dog until they are able to get them to the vet. This kit is not going to save a dog’s life, but it may stabilize them until they get to a location where (their life can be saved).”
The kits were small blue duffel bags containing typical first-aid items, like bandages and peroxide, but added additional items, like naloxone, blood clotter and charcoal for the dog if they ate something they should not have.
A lot of the items in the bag were donated by local businesses or medical places, such as the Cabell-Huntington Health Department.
Corbett said Thursday the kit would not go to waste.
“I’ve been in the woods and my dog luckily hasn’t had any serious injuries, but we are always running into briars and sticks and trees, which cause minor injuries,” he said. “A lot of the things in this kit are for minor injuries or to allow us to treat the animal in order to get the dog from the field to the veterinarian.”
About 40 officers from several police departments — such as Huntington, Charleston, Milton, Barboursville, and from as far away as Bridgeport and Princeton — were on hand at Thursday’s training. Officers in attendance received eight hours of WVDCJS law enforcement in-service credit.
In all, $10,000 was raised by community members visiting Little Caesars locations. Each kit cost around $58, totaling just under $5,000. The remaining money from the campaign was donated to the West Virginia Police Canine Association and some will also be donated to units in Kentucky for items needed for their dogs.
Corbett said the officers in attendance were overwhelmed by the community’s and businesses’ support in helping their K-9 partners.
Next year, the company plans to replenish items in the kits, as well as expand the campaign into other areas. Donahue-Moore said she hopes next year more businesses will join the campaign and perhaps even start an “April K-9 Appreciation” month.
Follow reporter Courtney Hessler at Facebook.com/CHesslerHD and via Twitter @HesslerHD.