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OFFICIAL NEWS RELEASE

 
 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Public Information Office (609) 882-2000:
Capt. Al Della Fave   Ext. 6514
Lt. Kevin Rehmann    Ext. 6515
SFC Gerald Lewis   Ext. 6516
A/Sgt Stephen Jones    Ext. 6513

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 18, 2005


 
 
Police Dogs Paw the Line for Canine Blood Drive

West Trenton - Nine explosives and narcotics trained canines lined up today with their handlers to provide units of life-giving blood to dogs in need. K-9s from the New Jersey State Police and other law enforcement agencies donated units of blood at for a drive run by the Ryan Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine.

"Everyone knows that animals sometimes need veterinary care and operations, but we just aren't aware that there is a constant need for donated animal blood," said Sgt. Debra Faiello, whose State Police canine Xena, participated in the blood drive.

Although State Police headquarters has been the site of Red Cross blood drives, the event is the first time animal blood donations have been collected here. Similar to people, canines give one unit of blood, but their unit is 450ml, or one pint. There are 12 different blood types for dogs. All participating dogs must be in good health, between one and seven years old and weigh more than 50 pounds. Most active law enforcement dogs fit these criteria perfectly.

The Ryan Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine manages the animal blood donor program, which began in 1987 to meet the needs of its patients. The Penn Animal Blood Bank has grown tremendously over the years; since it began, more than 3,000 dogs have participated. It is the largest voluntary canine blood donor program in the nation. The bloodmobile is a vital part of the hospital's lifesaving treatments for patients.

Some law enforcement K-9s who came for the blood drive also participated in search demonstrations and State Police explosives technicians had some of their equipment on display.

The State Police explosives-trained dogs and handlers are part of the Governor's New Jersey Explosives Detection and Render Safe Task Force, which was formed on April 12, 2004. The initiative was conceived by the Domestic Security Preparedness Task Force, chaired by Attorney General Peter Harvey, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Office for Domestic Preparedness.

The task force provides a consistent statewide response to finding explosives before they go off and rendering them harmless when they are found. This initiative substantially increases the safety and security of New Jersey citizens by increasing the number of trained canine teams and enhancing training opportunities amongst a large pool of agencies.

Today's blood drive included dogs from Morris and Monmouth County Sheriff's Departments and New Brunswick Police Department in addition to State Police K-9s.

Canine blood donations from the general public are also welcome. Owners, or dogs who are able, should call (215)573-7222, to reach the University blood bank to make arrangements. Donna Oakley, the program director lectures across the nation on animal blood collection.

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