Community works to help Gloucester K-9 handler who needs a bigger car


GLOUCESTER COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) —  In Gloucester County, there are two dogs with the Sheriff’s Office you would not want on your case — K-9s Zeus and Duke. Their handler, and master deputy with the Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office, Philip Lutz, says they have sniffed out suspects with ease.

In a recent incident, the pups alerted him straight to a break-in suspect, giving way for investigators to do their part.

“They got a confession from him and solved that whole thing,” said Lutz.

However, when they’re not out being doggy detectives, they’re crammed together in the law enforcement vehicle.

“It was cramped already with one dog, but the two along with all the extra equipment that just took it completely over the top,” said Lutz.

That’s something fellow community member Dianne Jones noticed, so she created a GoFundMe Page to help get a bigger vehicle.

“It was just not adequate,” said Jones.

After getting word of her efforts, the Sheriff’s Office took to their Facebook page to explain the situation.

The post states, in part: “When we renewed our K-9 program in 2015, we purchased and equipped a Ford Police Utility vehicle (a mid-sized SUV very similar to a Ford Explorer) to serve our handler and single working dog. The popularity and accomplishments of this division later led us to add an additional canine that specialized in tracking. The expanded K-9 division has proven to be an enormous success, not only in enforcing criminal laws but also in locating and reuniting missing individuals with their families.

“The services that both dogs offer are vital to our mission, and it is ideal to have them both available at all times that our handler is working. His current vehicle is not designed for both animals and the increased gear needed for this task, however it (based on our replacement policy and current mileage) is not due for replacement for at least another year, possibly two. Even when taking advantage of reduced pricing from special state and locality contracts, a proper K-9 vehicle for two dogs is one of the most expensive of our Sheriff’s vehicles to deploy.

“We were planning to replace the current SUV with a full-sized Chevrolet Tahoe in the coming years, however Ms. Jones is looking to provide that vehicle much sooner. While we did not request her aid, and Ms. Jones has direct oversight and control of her GoFundMe campaign, we are appreciative of her fundraising drive and we can certainly verify that she has reached out to us concerning her plans.”

Jones is is hoping you’ll donate and knows the community has what it takes to step up.

“I hope it says we can come together and get behind something that’s really beneficial for everyone. There’s about 30,000 people in Gloucester right now. If everyone just gave $2 it would be over in a day,” said Jones.

If you’re interested in donating please click this link.

Jones says ultimately the new car would have a decal wrapped around it establishing it was donated.

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