No more canine unit program at Kawartha Lakes Police Service

Dog handler stepping down due to health concerns and 'other factors' led to decision to suspend program

Kawartha Lakes Police Service K9 unit police service dog Xena with handler P.C. Keith Watson visiting a kindergarten class at Leslie Frost Public School in Lindsay in 2017. (Photo: Keith Watson / Twitter)
Kawartha Lakes Police Service K9 unit police service dog Xena with handler P.C. Keith Watson visiting a kindergarten class at Leslie Frost Public School in Lindsay in 2017. (Photo: Keith Watson / Twitter)

The City of Kawartha Lakes Police Service has suspended its canine unit (K9) program.

According to a media release, the decision was made after the department’s dog handler stepped down due to unexpected health concerns.

“A number of other factors were also considered by the police service in making this difficult decision,” the release adds.

Kawartha Lakes Police Service K9 unit police service dog Xena went on active duty in 2016. (Photo: Keith Watson / Twitter)
Kawartha Lakes Police Service K9 unit police service dog Xena went on active duty in 2016. (Photo: Keith Watson / Twitter)

Chief Mark Mitchell advised the City of Kawartha Lakes Police Services Board of the decision at the board’s regular meeting on Monday (July 15).

“Residents can continue to feel safe and secure in their homes, schools, and place of work, despite this difficult decision to suspend our K9 program,” Mitchell says.

When there is a need for canine unit services, the release states, City of Kawartha Lakes Police Service officers will be supported through existing partnerships in place with the Peterborough Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police.

“The K9 program will be re-evaluated in the future to determine the feasibility of returning it to active service,” Mitchell says.

Kawartha Lakes Police Service have confirmed that Xena, their existing K9 police service dog, is now in the care of a private K9 handler.

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