Pubdate: Mon, 08 Dec 2003
Source: Sanford Herald, The (NC)
Copyright: The Sanford Herald 2003
Author: Katherine McDonald
Bookmark: ( Students - United States)


SANFORD - Drug carriers on campuses in Lee County schools will have no
place to hide once a trained drug-sniffing dog is on duty.

That day is not too far off, following approval of the purchase of a
dog by the Lee County Board of Education on Monday.

A school resource officer will be trained as its handler and the dog
will live at the home of the handler, who has not yet been selected.

The board unanimously approved (with board member Jo Ann Thomas
absent) signing a contract with Tarheel Canine Training Inc. of
Sanford for the dog and training.

Total start-up costs will be approximately $10,300.

The largest cost is $4,000 for Tarheel Canine Training to provide a
Belgian Malinois, train the dog in narcotics detection and provide a
two-week training program for the handler. The process takes about six
to eight weeks.

A vehicle insert in which to transport the dog will cost about $1,500;
construction of a kennel and cement pad for it, about $1,000. Annual
cost of maintaining the dog, including food and veterinary care, will
be about $740.

Board member Ruth Gurtis described the board's action as "very
proactive," saying that there are too many incidents of marijuana
arrests on school campuses.

Board Chairman Jim Womack said that, on his 12 years on the board,
there has been an emphasis on student safety and this action was a
continuation of that.

Chief Resource Officer Tracy Carte did the research on obtaining the
dog. He recommended Tarheel, which also supplied a dog for the
City-County Drug Unit.

Start-up costs also include the purchase of a used Blazer-type vehicle
to transport the animal. Carter estimated that cost at about $3,500.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake