Police Ask for Help Covering K-9's Medical Bills

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Risa Ferman
    Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman with Jenkintown Police Department K-9 Rocky at MontCo Courthouse in 2013.

    Jenkintown Police Department Chief Al DiValentino said he can only attribute the recent misfortunes of the department's only K-9 unit, Rocky, to Murphy's Law.

    "All of a sudden he was really seriously ill. He started to vomit and the handler had to take him to the hospital. For this to happen when it did, go figure," he said.

    Doctor's tell the department that they still don't know what caused Rocky's sudden illness, but it led to emergency surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Animal Hospital. And more than $8,000 in medical bills.

    The timing for Rocky's health issues is unfortunate.

    According to DiValentino, the Department's K-9 unit is solely funded by donations from local businesses and organizations. Two days before Rocky got sick, the insurance policy for the dog expired and there was not enough donated money to renew it.

    Without the insurance policy, the department now has to pay more than $8,000 for Rocky's surgery and post-surgery care.

    After hearing from doctors that Rocky had a 50/50 chance of surviving the surgery, the department immediately launched a fundraiser to pay for his continued care.

    "We plan to pay UPenn as the donations come through the account; they've been very good about working with us. Today alone we got around $400. So, I'm very confident that we're gonna reach our goal because the community has always been very generous with this dog," DiValentino said.

    Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman met Rocky shortly after he was inducted to serve the department in 2008. Over the weekend, Ferman posted a flier with information about Rocky's condition on Facebook to promote the fundraiser.

    "He has been a dedicated public servant for many years," she said. "When I heard from the Chief about Rocky's situation, I thought social media might be a good platform to let our community know about the need and how they could help."

    Numerous schools in the Jenkintown School District are also pitching in on the fundraising effort.

    According to the District, Jenkintown Elementary School is hosting a fundraiser where students can purchase paper dog paws for $1 and have them displayed on a wall. To drive the fundraiser even further, the school decided to add a little competition. So, for the school's color day or 'field day,' they'll host a red versus blue competition. The team that sells the most paper dog paws wins. All of the money raised will go to Rocky.

    Last week, teachers at Jenkintown High School paid $5 toward Rocky's fundraiser to have a dress down day on Friday. Jenkintown Middle School is also planning an event to raise funds for Rocky.

    "Whenever there's something going on in Jenkintown, the whole community comes together to help. And he is the dog that comes to the school and the kids see him during class trips, so the kids all love him," Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent Susan Hughes said. "Everybody loves to help a dog."

    Donations for Rocky can be sent to Jenkintown Police Donation Account, 700 Summit Avenue, Jenkintown, Pa. 19046.