SEPTA gets first drug-detection K-9 from local nonprofit

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Throw Away Dogs Project, a local nonprofit that rescues potential police K-9s, has donated 17 dogs to police and corrections agencies around the country, but none in the Philadelphia area. That has changed with the donation of Kilo, a Belgian Malinois, to SEPTA.

“The SEPTA Transit Police Department is thrilled to welcome Kilo to its K-9 ranks,” Police Chief Thomas Nestel III said Thursday.

The donation occurred at the end of February and Kilo is now training with Officer Tanya Ganoe, his handler, at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center.

Carol Skaziak, founder of Throw Away Dogs, waited till this week to announce the donation to make sure Kilo worked out.

“He is excelling and will be graduating in three weeks,” said Skaziak, who runs the nonprofit from her Huntingdon Valley home.

Kilo, who is about 18 months old, will be SEPTA’s first narcotics detection dog, Skaziak said.

Kilo came from a K-9 dog broker and breeder in Rhode Island and was an unlikely candidate for police work. He was skittish, scared of new surroundings, and cautious around strangers. He had lived in a kennel since birth.

“We knew we had a big project on our hands and we weren’t sure if we would be able to rehabilitate him, then try and train him,” Skaziak said.

But she and Throw Away Dogs co-founder Jason Walters, a SEPTA police officer and K-9 handler, decided to give Kilo a chance.

The rehab took three months and the nonprofit invested another three months to provide some initial training.

Kilo and Officer Ganoe are now on target for graduation from the Working Dog Center on May 18

“The Throw Away Dogs Project is a tremendous resource for law enforcement. It does a great work in rescuing and rehabilitating abandoned dogs so that they can have a purpose as trusted K-9 police dogs that serve the public,” Nestel said.

“The SEPTA Transit Police Department looks forward to continuing to work with the Throw Away Dogs Project in the future,” Nestel said.

Throw Away Dogs, which has been featured on “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Milan’s new TV show, Dog Nationalso has four dogs attending K-9 school for the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

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