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GoFundMe Drive Underway For Cancer Stricken Police Dog

Published: April 07, 2017 at 12:00 am

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Town police have mounted an internet-based fund drive to raise $15,000 in donations to cover medical costs related to the treatment of Saint Michael, their German shepherd, which has been diagnosed with cancer, police spokesman Lieutenant Aaron Bahamonde said April 5.

"It's extremely serious... an aggressive cancer," the lieutenant said of the 4-year-old dog, who recently had surgery to remove a malignant tumor from his stomach. The surgery cost $6,000, he said. Additional medical costs will include chemotherapy, which the dog will be starting soon, he added.

In the surgery, the dog's spleen also was removed. The form of cancer Saint Michael has is known as hemangiosarcoma. It is a rapidly growing, invasive cancer of the blood vessels.

Measures are being pursued to extend the dog's life by one to three years, Lt Bahamonde said.

"He's loved by all the officers," the lieutenant said of the police's emotional bond with the handsome black canine who started working with police in 2014. Police have used the dog for drug detection, suspect tracking and apprehension, and for finding lost people.

Officer Felicia Figol handles Saint Michael for the police department. The dog lives with Ofc Figol. She could not be reached for comment.

Although the police budget has basic funding for its canine unit, money has not been set aside for the dog's unforeseen medical problems, Lt Bahamonde said.

Through medical means, police will seek to maintain the dog's quality of life as long as possible, Lt Bahamonde said.

After Ofc Figol noticed that Saint Michael was behaving lethargically, she had the dog checked, the problem was found, and surgery was performed on March 25. Police received the dog's cancer diagnosis on March 30, Lt Bahamonde said.

Before they acquired Saint Michael, police had German shepherd Baro as their canine officer. Baro died in June 2013 at age 10 of the same form of cancer which Saint Michael has developed, although Baro's cancer was localized at his heart, Lt Bahamonde said.

To raise money for Saint Michael's medical expenses police have started a GoFundMe webpage. To donate visit gofundme.com/saint-michael-police-k9-newtown-pd.

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