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Bono now among the Steubenville police force

STEUBENVILLE – Bono, a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois police dog, officially was introduced to the community Thursday afternoon.

Bono was purchased from Tri-State Canine Services of Warren in October and then spent five weeks training with K-9 Police Officer Rob Cook before starting his duties with the City Police Department.

In addition to acquainting himself with the dog and conducting 60 hours of ongoing training a month, Cook learned the basic commands in Dutch.

“I know about eight words I use for commands. The dog came from Holland and understands those Dutch words. The rest of the time I use basic words with him. He is a big baby with me but he is a very good police dog when he is working,” noted Cook.

Cook said Bono already has been used to search and find a suspect hiding in a basement and has been used by the local U.S. Marshals office.

“Bono is a full-service patrol dog who can be used for narcotics cases, to trail and track suspects as well as someone who may be lost, apprehension cases and in a controlled search to find evidence. Bono can search an area for evidence faster than several police officers. He is not replacing human officers, but can assist us in doing our job better,” Cook explained.

“I have always loved dogs and currently have my own personal dog who gets along with Bono quite well. They usually end up ignoring each other when I am at home with Bono,” laughed Cook.

“Being the K-9 officer for the City Police Department is a pretty big honor for me. I am very glad to have been given this opportunity. I was born in Steubenville and still live in Steubenville. I want to do what I can for my community,” he added.

Police Chief Bill McCafferty thanked the Teramana family, “for the generous funding to purchase the police dog as well as financial support from the Nina and Tony Gentile family; Dr. Michael Martello of the Steubenville Veterinary Hospital; Steve Vukelic of RSV Inc.; Jerri Ritter from Poochy Parlor; Mark Nelson of Nelson Enterprises; Pat Lamantia of Purina Foods; City Manager Tim Boland; Mayor Domenick Mucci; and City Council members, and a special thanks to 6th Ward Councilman Bob Villamagna for his work in finding financial donations for the K-9 unit.”

McCafferty said a K-9 fund was set up by the city finance office.

“Anyone who would like to contribute to supporting our K-9 units can send a donation to the fund at the finance office,” McCafferty said.

Dave Blosser of Tri-State Canine Services said earlier this year the dog will be a useful tool for the community and the police department.

Blosser has supplied police dogs to the Wintersville and Bridgeport police departments.

“This isn’t just about picking out a cute puppy. Once we bring the dogs back from Europe the dogs go through a structured training process to ensure they are ready for this type of work,” noted Blosser in October, as the police department prepared to select the dog.

According to Blosser, the canine equipment he supplied includes two leather leashes; a 15-foot tracking line; a fur saver collar and a pinch collar, a leather collar and a leather muzzle; a K-9 training note book and 400 pounds of Adirondack premium dog food.

“I already have some work lined up for you in the housing complex. It has been two long years getting the dog here, and I am glad he is now on the job,” said 1st Ward Councilman Gerald DiLoreto.

“I am very proud of this officer chosen as our K-9 officer. We could not have picked a better police officer, and I am really excited to see this day. I can’t say enough about the Teramana and Gentile families for supporting the new police dog,” stated Villamagna.

Mayor Domenick Mucci said the dog “is a welcome addition to the police force. But we still need the citizens to stay involved with the police. I encourage the citizens to step forward to work with Bono and the police department.”

“I am very pleased and proud to welcome Bono to the police force. This is a major step forward for the police department and the city. Bono will help us fight crime, reduce crime and eliminate crime when we can,” said City Manager Tim Boland.

Cook said Bono will be available for active police work until he is approximately 10 years old.

(Gossett can be contacted at dgossett@heraldstaronline.com.)

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