LYNWOOD, Ill. — Officers said they were heartbroken after a police service dog (PSD) suffered a severe injury that could lead to paralysis. However, K9 Dante is not done fighting and neither are his fellow officers, Lynwood police said.
On Saturday Protecting K9 Heroes launched a fundraiser for the Lynwood Police Department to help treat Dante, who has been an invaluable member of their agency.
While on duty early Friday, Dante and his handler were playing during a break. As Dante was chasing a ball, he crashed into a metal object, “leaving him almost lifeless,” according to the GoFundMe page.
As a result, Dante was rushed to a vet for emergency treatment. Consequently, a CT scan revealed that if the PSD doesn’t receive immediate surgery to relieve pressure on his spinal cord, he could be paralyzed, according to the Lynwood Police Department.
Deputy Chief Terrence Shubert said Dante has been faithfully protecting the community for years and now needs the community’s help, nwitimes.com reported.
Lynwood police welcomed Dante into the department in August of 2014.
“He has been a wonderful asset to the department,” Shubert said. “He has been used by federal agencies, locating children with disabilities, assisting other agencies in apprehending shooting suspects, used for search warrants in our town and neighboring jurisdictions. We have a small budget for his general care and upkeep, but unfortunately nothing to handle a situation of this magnitude.”
On Saturday, Dante was taken to a medical facility in Chicago to undergo treatment and surgery, police said. To help offset the cost of the surgery, a GoFundMe campaign was created called, “K9 Dante needs immediate spinal surgery.”
At this time, the cost of the surgery is unknown but is expected to be more than $10,000. It appears as though they’ve exceeded their goal as nearly $16,00 had been raised by Sunday morning.
“The police department does not have funding for this nor is this something that is ever budgeted for,” Staci Goveia, founder and president of Protecting K9 Heroes, said on the fundraiser page. “We have been asked to step in and help get K-9 Dante the surgery he needs immediately. Please consider donating whatever you can so that together, we can help K-9 Dante.”
Goveia has known Dante and his handler since she began her nonprofit organization, which was originally based out of Lynwood. The PSD has a special place in her heart, she said.
“Dante was the very first dog I provided a ballistic vest for,” Goveia said. “Dante has always been my little buddy. I have a lot of respect for Dante and his handler. They really work hard and Dante is well respected in the police department.”
Goveia said after surgery, if all goes well Dante will have to undergo physical therapy. She said it is unknown if he will be able to continue his career as a PSD or will have to retire following his recovery.