“Keep Nellie Cool and Safe” project has been completed

Tom Starks Starks, Funeral Home; Deputy Tiffany Graves; Sheriff Richard J. Behnke;. Deb Rohdy, Bow Wow Bakery and Bath.

Last Fall Deb Rohdy, owner of the Bow Wow Bakery and Bath in Dowagiac, started a community project to “Keep Nellie Cool”  This project was to purchase a heat sensor for the patrol car used by Nellie and her handler Deputy TK Graves. Nellie is a Bloodhound used by the Cass County Sheriff’s Office for trailing of lost, missing, and endangered persons.  The heat sensor informs the handler if the car gets to hot, then she can respond to make sure Nellie is safe from the heat.  Last year there were 7 Police K9’s killed nationwide from overheated vehicles.  Deb Rohdy started the fund raising from her business on Front St in Dowagiac.  In a short time she had not only reached the goal but surpassed the amount to over $5,000.  The project quickly went from “Keep Nellie Cool” to “Keep Nellie Safe”.

The car that was being utilized by the bloodhound and handler was scheduled to be taken out of service.  The Sheriff’s Office was approached by a couple of other sources for donations.  Tom Starks of Stark Funeral Homes and the Berrien County Kennel Club supplemented donations in the effort to get Nellie a patrol vehicle with the heat sensor. A total of $12,000 was raised and a used Tahoe was purchased and outfitted for use to achieve the goal.

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the many citizens that donated money through the Bow Wow Bakery and Bath and First Source Bank in Dowagiac, as well as Starks Funeral Home and the Berrien County Kennel Club.

Richard J. Behnke
Cass County Sheriff

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