MADISON (WKOW) –Madison Police Officer Rose Mansavage has two partners, K9 Officers Marty and Falco. She jokes, “I see them more than my kids, my husband. It’s 24/7. Every day!”Officers Marty and Falco work and live with Officer Mansavage, so they have a very tight bond. In fact, try to get their attention and you’ll have a hard time. They are so in tune with her, they tend to not pay attention to much else. They are always waiting for a command from her.
Officers Marty and Falco, like the other K9 officers with the Madison Police Department do mostly detector work. Officer Mansavage says, “We’re constantly checking drugs in vehicles, checking buildings. We’re also doing a lot of tracking.”
That’s something that saved a Madison man’s life recently. Stephen Nelsen, who has dementia, wandered off. Two K9 officers were able to track his scent and help mounted patrol officers find him.
In most city-run K9 units, taxpayers foot the bill. But in Madison, they never have. The non-profit agency Capital K9s was founded 10 years ago and raises money throughout the year. It pays for just about everything: the dogs, their training, health care, food and equipment. Everything except the human officers’ salaries and benefits.
“That’s a significant contribution. The estimate is $50,000 to put a K9 officer on the street that’s $50,000 less taxpayer money that’s not coming from the city budget,” says Officer Mansavage.
Capital K9 Board Member Dan McIlroy says, “We’ve had a lot of drugs taken off the streets and when you look at those statistics you say ‘Wow, if we didn’t have a K9 team, where would we be?’ We see value to this and we want to help.”
The Capital K9 program has two big fundraisers. The 8th Annual Dog Paddle is September 7th at Goodman Pool. All dogs are allowed to swim there for a donation. To learn more about it, and the non-profit’s spring fundraiser, head to this website.