City K-9 officer will retire

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Mountain Home Police Department is planning on retiring its long-time police dog, Bonzai.

Bonzai, a 10-year-old German shepherd, has served the city for the last 8 years. Typically, canine police officers usually serve only 3 to 5 years). Bonzai was certified through the Idaho Police Officer Standards Training (POST) Academy in December of 1999.

In his career, Bonzai was responsible for finding 981 grams of marijuana, 90 grams of methamphetamine, and 49 pieces of drug paraphernalia. Bonzai assisted in 11,154 locker searches and 144 vehicle searches.

Bonzai - K-9 Officer

Unfortunately, due to Bonzai's age, he has lost some of his ability to perform his duties as a patrol canine, therefore losing his recertification as a police canine.

When Bonzai first started in 1999, he needed a great deal of work to get certified, but due to the new stricter rules on certification implemented by the Idaho Police Canine Association, his recent narcotic work has been satisfactory, but not to the standards implemented by the IPCA.

During the recent meeting of the Mountain Home City Council, Acting Police Chief Lt. Julie Bunderson, requested a motion to retire Bonzai and allow the dog to be formally sold to his handler, Russell Griggs.

Urquidi asked Bunderson if plans were made on getting another dog but Bunderson said that "we haven't had any one step up and say we're getting another dog."

As his new owner, Griggs will assume all liability for the actions of Bonzai, according to the agreement with the city, including veterinary care of the animal and any claims arising for damages. The agreement negates any further responsibility or liability for Bonzai.

The council approved the motion, with Councilmen Richard Urquidi adding that the council should give an award to Bonzai for his time of service. Mayor Joe B. McNeal agreed with Urquidi, saying the council would be able to award Bonzai with a certificate as soon as next week.

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