The Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department K-9 Division will formally announce the name of its newest canine officer at a 1 p.m. media event Wednesday, Feb. 28, on the lawn adjacent to the departmentís front entrance at 845 N. Motel Blvd. in Las Cruces. The dog will be present.
More than 400 people responded to a name-the-police-dog contest announced Feb. 7 by the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department. From the entries, five finalists were selected for the 19-month-old Belgian Malinois that was imported from the Netherlands and purchased for $4,000 with a federal grant.
K-9 coordinator Sgt. Gerard Madden said names under consideration were: 1) Tyson, after the famous boxer Mike Tyson; 2) Zorro, because of the dogís facial markings that resemble a mask; 3) Scrappy, referring to the dogís early life; 4) Hoover, because of the loud sniffing noise he makes when searching for drugs; and 5) Snitch, because heíll give away the secrets of would-be drug traffickers.
The new dog came to the department with an unusual name: Berry 9.
Madden said Berry 9 had surgery recently to heal an abscess on his left rear paw. During training with other dogs in California, a black Labrador Retriever bit off a piece of the dogís right ear. Berry 9 loves to play with a football, and has been known to intercept a ball from people playing nearby. He loves kids.
On the job, Madden said, the dog is all business. He is trained to sniff out narcotics and to assist deputies in special-response situations. He will also tour the schools in Doña Ana County to make presentations about the departmentís K-9 unit.
Berry 9 replaces 12-year veteran Zico, who is beginning to show signs of back troubles and will be retired from the force.
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Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 525-5801.