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N. Huntingdon getting new K-9

Joe Napsha
| Thursday, July 20, 2017, 8:33 p.m.
In a drug search exercise, Vegas tells his partner Sgt. Kari Bauer he has found the package.  North Huntingdon Township Police work with their K9 partners in weekly training exercises.  The department has received a grant to purchase three Kevlar vests for their K9's.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Norw
In a drug search exercise, Vegas tells his partner Sgt. Kari Bauer he has found the package. North Huntingdon Township Police work with their K9 partners in weekly training exercises. The department has received a grant to purchase three Kevlar vests for their K9's.
North Huntingdon Township Police work with their K9 partners in weekly training exercises. The department has received a grant to purchase three Kevlar vests for their K9s. Officer Jeremy Nicholas and Nero, Officer William Sombo and Colt and Sgt. Kari Bauer with Vegas.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Norwin Star
North Huntingdon Township Police work with their K9 partners in weekly training exercises. The department has received a grant to purchase three Kevlar vests for their K9s. Officer Jeremy Nicholas and Nero, Officer William Sombo and Colt and Sgt. Kari Bauer with Vegas.

A Mercer County kennel is providing the North Huntingdon Police Department with a new dog to replace Vegas, a K-9 that died in May of natural causes.

Sgt. Kari Bauer, who was Vegas' partner, is scheduled to begin training Zagro this week at Shallow Creek Kennels in Sharpsville, said Lt. Rod Mahinske, the department's ranking officer. The German shepherd will be used for patrol and for detecting drugs, Mahinske said.

It likely will take a while for Zagro to become acclimated to people in the police department and riding in the police vehicle, Mahinske said.

North Huntingdon commissioners recently agreed to buy and train a new police dog with drug detection capabilities. Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck has approved about $12,000 from drug-seizure money to pay for the K-9 and training, Mahinske said.

Bauer will undergo two weeks of intensive training with her new partner, which was born in December 2015 in the Netherlands — which has a good reputation for breeding K-9s, said Maddy DeMilio, a Shallow Creek Kennels spokeswoman and trainer. The same kennel provided Vegas.

Zagro was trained by Shallow Creek Kennels owner John Brannon, DeMilio said. Brannon hand-picks the dogs and trains them in narcotics detection and patrol work.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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