From Homeless to Hero: NY Police Department Adopts Newest Recruit
The Owego Police Department's newest recruit is sure to make a paw-sitive impact in her community.
The Southern Tier department recently introduced a three-year-old pit bull and Belgian malinois mix named Mag to its force. While her sweet face alone is enough to make even the coldest heart swoon, it's her story that makes her new position as a K9 officer that much more amazing.
Over the first couple years of her life, Mag found herself in and out of the shelter, searching for her forever home. She was first brought to the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter as a stray in late 2018, but the first person to adopt Mag took her to a paid kennel and never came back. She wound up back at the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter and a family adopted her for about a year, until they moved and decided they couldn't bring Mag with them. Yet again, Mag found herself back at the same shelter.
But this time, she had some friends looking out for her and devising a plan for her future. The Southern Tier Police Canine Association tested Mag for its Homeless to Hero program, which specializes in training shelter dogs as police canines. Mag easily passed her tests and the STPCA pulled her from the shelter to live with a trainer and undergo two months of extensive training in both tracking and narcotics detection.
According to the Owego Police Department, the process of bringing on a new police K9 can cost upwards of $16,000, but the STPCA spared no expense helping Mag find her new home. The association donated Mag to the department, along with $6,000 worth of equipment to outfit Mag's patrol vehicle with the necessary tools she needs to serve the community.
Mag has officially found her home with the Owego Police Department, and more specifically, with her handler, Officer Andrew Pike. Since he and Mag have been getting to know each other, Pike told WENY that while he now has more responsibility on and off the clock, he's found his new best friend.
"It's great and I think the bond is already there," Pike told WENY. "She'll be laying down and I make a little movement and she's like, 'Alright, are we going to do something? Lets go.' She's just very loving toward me and very affectionate. The bond is there already and it happened quick."
Mag and Officer Pike, will undergo an in-house basic handler school before they hit the streets.