K-9 ‘hero’ dogs now have a special burial site in the Highland Cemetery

FT. MITCHELL, Ky. – The dogs that served the Northern Kentucky Police Department now have a special site where they can rest after they die.

The Highland Pet Cemetery was opened on Wednesday evening, near a memorial for police dogs commemorating all the hard work puppies have done.

“Most people don’t realize what these dogs are doing in their careers, they just think they’re dogs,” said Stacey Rodriguez, wife of a retired K-9 master.

But they’re not just pets. They are companions and partners in the fight against crime.

“Over the years this has been a huge toll on us, extremely handy in helping us find a lot of suspects… locating missing children, things like that,” said TJ Selby, of the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office. .

The Highland Cemetery memorial highlights dogs who served alongside police officers, such as Santo.

Santo’s photo is engraved on a stone monument. In the line of duty, he was suffocated and stabbed while working for the Kenton County Sheriff’s Office.

Santo survived, but the work cost him dearly.

“He was already retired,” Rodriguez said. “He passed away from a twisted bowel, so he went through a lot. He passed away like that, he was 9 years old. I saw how emotional my husband was, because he was his partner.”

Santo’s name is just one of many names on the memorial, which is used to help owners deal emotionally with the loss of their dog. But there is also a financial aspect.

Once K9 dogs retire, their owners must pay out of pocket to bury their pet.

“The design of this foundation was to provide funeral markers and engravings for officers who lose their K-9 partner,” said Heather Jansen, mayor of Villa Hills. “(The) foundation will cover this for free. We know how expensive it can be to take care of this. The design of this was so that officers did not have to worry, in addition, of the expense of burying. their best friend or partner. ”

Jansen’s parents left money for charity and the family made a donation for the realization of the memorial site.

“There was such a need for the heroes of K-9, having been involved in the cemetery without parents,” Jansen said. “It was nice to be able to do something where the officers, the managers can recognize the service they have rendered.”

The space inside the cemetery also provides officers who have lost a furry partner a calm and personal space to visit and remember.

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