UW-W police dog visits woman who donated vest money

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Jonah Beleckis
Thursday, March 9, 2017

JANESVILLE—Jean Kutz returned to her Janesville home in August 2015, where she could die more comfortably in a bed overlooking her farmland on Lone Lane Road.

Kutz said she has always loved animals. Next to the bed she has been in since her return home she can watch the bird feeder right outside the window.

She also loves dogs. She used to breed border collies and sell them for $25 apiece. She cared for "at least" 35 dogs in her life, she said.

In writing her will, she wanted to donate money so a police dog could get a protective vest. Then she thought, “Why not make the donation while I'm still alive and meet the dog in person?”

Kutz donated $1,000 so UW-Whitewater's first-ever police dog, Hawk, could receive a protective vest. Hawk and his handler, officer Kelsey Servi, met Kutz at her home Wednesday, where Hawk could jump on her bed with his worn-out tennis ball and say hi.

Kutz said it was “so silly” that police departments and fundraisers could spend thousands and thousands of dollars on a police dog, only to still have it susceptible to one fatal knife wound.

“With that much training, they (the dogs) should be protected,” Kutz said.

After reading an article about the Rock County sheriff's two new police dogs, Kutz said she wanted to donate money for a vest.

A priority for Kutz was finding an organization where all the money went directly to the cause, she said. She settled on Wisconsin Vest-A-Dog.

Hawk, an Australian cattle dog, was in a kill shelter before he was rescued and trained to become a police dog. He was 29 pounds when Servi first met him but since bulked up to 55.

Hawk's first assignment came recently when Whitewater High School was evacuated after authorities found two suspicious packages that were later deemed nonthreatening.

Kutz said she hopes the vest will help signal to Hawk, the 1-year-old energetic puppy who lives with Servi 24/7, that it's time for work.

“He'll know the difference between playtime and this is business,” Kutz said.

Hawk should have his custom-made, $1,000 vest in a few weeks, Servi said. The vests typically last five years before the material starts to wear down.

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