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Auburn’s new K-9 donated by local citizen

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Officer Stout & K-9 Zena | photo courtesy, APD

The Auburn Police Department has a new K-9 Team. Officer Helena Stout has been partnered with Zena, a female two-year-old German Shepherd. Stout is a first time K-9 handler and Zena the first female K-9 in the department’s history.

Zena comes to the Auburn Police Department from an area resident. “She donated [Zena] because she lives in an apartment, it was her first dog, and she didn’t know what it really meant to have a working dog as a pet,” shared Auburn’s Public Information Officer, Kalyn Brady.

An evaluation was required prior to accepting the donated K-9. Chief Dan O’Neil, a former K-9 handler, and current APD K-9 Handler Tim Nunn tested and evaluated Zena. “We had a final evaluation completed by Master K9 Trainer Deputy Munson with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department,” said Brady.

Stout and Zena will complete a 10-week, 400-hour course together, beginning in January.

For the city to purchase a K-9 would normally cost between $8,500-$10,500. The city will retrofit an existing police vehicle for K-9 use. The $7,000 cost is included as a part of the latest 2020 Budget Amendment expected to be passed by City Council. Zena will need a K-9 bulletproof vest. The department’s last new K-9, Jax, had his tactical vest generously donated by J&D’s Hydraulic and Repair Co. Inc. 

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K9 Jax being fitted for his new vest | APD

“Police Dogs are still a valuable tool for public relations,” said Brady. “They also serve a vital role in locating dangerous felons and engaging in officer protection.”

The police department currently has two generalist K-9s, Lu and Jax. Ginger, a drug detection K-9, and her handler work with the Narcotics Taskforce.  Zena will be a generalist K-9.

Related: Tacoma Police Department announces new patrol dog, K-9 Axel

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