GLOUCESTER, Va. - Dianne Jones is a local resident who is taking action to help the Gloucester County Sheriff's Office’s K9 unit. She started a GoFundMe to raise $60,000 so the unit can purchase a new, larger vehicle.
"I noticed that he had a very crowded vehicle,” Jones said. “He had one dog initially, then they added the other dog and it was just ridiculous to see all the stuff he had to put in the car."
The current car was first introduced in 2015 when the office started up its K9 unit, starting with one dog and later expanding to two dogs. The K9 unit has participated in efforts including searching for clues, missing people and criminals.
The two dogs sit in the back seat of the vehicle with a partition separating the canines. A look into the trunk shows the unit’s gear and equipment packed tightly.
"Originally the vehicle was only designed for one dog,” Deputy Philip Lutz, the Gloucester County Sheriff Office’s K9 handler, explained. “When we added the second dog to expand the sheriff's office capabilities, it wasn't planned for that in the beginning."
As of Saturday, the GoFundMe page has raised over $1,600, but Jones said she is confident of the community’s support.
"I thought as though the community would rally around the goal, and it seems to be doing that now,” Jones said. “Of course everyone knows the importance of the K9 unit."
The $60,000 goal covers the cost of a new vehicle as well as the needed gear and costs associated with retrofitting the car.
Even if the goal is not met, Jones explained that however much is ultimately raised will still go towards the purchase of a new vehicle. The current vehicle, however, will be used for about two more years as per sheriff's office policy.
Overall, Lutz said he feels blessed a resident would jump into action to help them.
"Just starting this GoFundMe, we appreciate it beyond all recognition,” Lutz said.
If you would like to contribute to the effort, click here to be taken to the GoFundMe page. There is no set deadline right now.