The Hillsborough Police Department received $11,000 from the Durham Kennel Club and its parent organization, the American Kennel Club, to fund the purchase of a new police dog.

Durham Kennel Club Director Bob Wisniewski, member Joyce McHenry and delegate Linda Wozniak recently presented a check to Hillsborough Police chief Duane Hampton and Mayor Tom Stevens.

Hampton calls the Kennel Club’s donation generous and says that they are, “very proud” of their K-9 program and their ability to “continue it and make it stronger.”

The donation is provided through the American Kennel Club’s Canine Support and Relief Fund, which helps to replace service dogs – including police K-9s.

Although conversations around a new police dog have been happening since March, the grant follows the retirement of K-9 Officer Viper, an eight-year-old police dog who retired earlier this month due to an unidentified medical condition that is preventing him from walking long distances and carrying out his duties.

Stevens says the donation right as Viper is retiring makes a big difference, as replacement and accompanying training of a police dog typically costs over $10,000.

Hillsborough’s K9 officers are dual-purpose patrol dogs, which means that in addition to protecting their partners and apprehending suspects, they are able to locate narcotics, track people, perform building searches and locate items, such as discarded weapons.

The police department will add a small decal displaying the club’s Reunite logo to the town’s K-9 vehicles, as a condition of the grant.

The Reunite programs’ efforts include around-the-clock recovery experts, implanting microchips and collar tags for the recovery of lost pets and has helped reunite over 400,000 lost pets with owners since 1995.