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Lewis County Sheriff’s Department unveils new police dog

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LOWVILLE — Lewis County’s new police dog officially joined the force this week.

“I didn’t expect to have a canine unit in service this quickly,” said Undersheriff James M. Monnat, who was a dog handler for 21 years at the Lowville Police Department. “It materialized very quickly.”

Wyman, a 14-month-old German shepherd imported from the Czech Republic, went on duty Monday after a few months of training in both drug detection and patrol and tracking.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” said the dog’s handler, Deputy Daryl R. Ortlieb. “Hard work, but fun. Well worth it in the end.”

The training, which took place throughout Lewis and northern Oneida counties, was completed more quickly than initially expected, Mr. Monnat said. That’s partly because of the already-experienced handler and “trainability” of the dog, he said.

The dog was named for Oneida County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Kurt Wyman, who was killed in an armed standoff in June 2011.

Deputy Ortlieb previously handled a narcotics dog for the town of Webb Police Department.

When Mr. Monnat retired from the Lowville department in June 2011, his 11-year-old German shepherd, Agar, retired with him. Since then, the county had been without a certified police dog until Wyman’s arrival.

County legislators approved purchase of a dog in April.

The Sheriff’s Department received roughly $13,000 in forfeiture money from the district attorney’s office and donations from the Lowville Elks Lodge — which also helped purchase the village’s last two police dogs — and several private individuals to cover the costs of purchasing, training and helping to equip the dog.

That included refurbishing a 2006 Chevrolet Durango for use as a K-9 patrol vehicle.

Countryside Veterinary Clinic has agreed to provide all of Wyman’s shots and annual exams at no cost.

While initial costs for the program have been covered, the Sheriff’s Department will continue to accept donations to cover the cost of dog food — expected to run about $50 per month — and other items without incurring taxpayer expense.

Donations may be sent to Lewis County Sheriff’s Department, Attn: K-9 Fund, Outer Stowe Street, Lowville, N.Y. 13367. Anyone with questions about the program may call the department at 376-3511.

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