Cabarrus County Deputy Sheriff Brian McClellen and his partner, Igor, are in the business of sniffing out explosives.
In the course of his duty, the 19-month-old Belgian Malinois – and the other five drug- and explosive-detecting K-9s working under the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office – could be exposed to opioids and other dangerous drugs that, if inhaled, might cause them to overdose.
That danger prompted Laurel Dancy, manager of the University Animal Medical and Dental Clinic in Harrisburg, to convince her boss, Dr. Jimmie Sain, to purchase a half-dozen Narcan kits for the sheriff’s department four-legged officers. To raise money for the kits, which cost about $200 each, Dr. Sain is donating 100 percent of the proceeds collected from all cat and dog nail-trimmings completed by his animal clinic now through the end of November, according to Ms. Dancy.
The nail clippings cost $20.40 each, and appointments can be made by calling the veterinarian’s office at 704-455-5907.
“I saw a report on TV about Narcan kits, and the K-9s that go out and are dealing with the drugs, so I thought it would be a good community service project for us,” Ms. Dancy said.
While sheriff department officers are equipped with Narcan kits – a nasal spray that, when combined with chest compressions, can reverse opioid overdoses – their K-9s do not currently have them, according to Deputy Sheriff McClellen.
The goal is to donate at least a half-dozen of the kits to the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office. Any remaining funds will go toward the purchase of additional Narcan kits for other local police agencies, Ms. Dancy said.
Deputy Sheriff McClellen and Igor met with Dr. Sain, Ms. Dancy and several animal clinic employees on Thursday afternoon to personally thank them for their efforts to help protect the department’s K-9s, four of which are trained to detect illegal drugs.
Still, Igor and the office’s other bomb-sniffing K-9 could be exposed to opioids while sniffing out explosives, according to his handler.
“People have been getting more creative with their improvised explosive devices,” says Deputy Sheriff McClellen, explaining that some could be laced with narcotics to throw off and potentially kill K-9s.
Deputy Sheriff McClellen says the sheriff’s department is appreciative of all efforts to better protect officers and their K-9s.
UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL MEDICAL AND DENTAL CLINIC