Adding bite to the badge

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Mike DuPre'
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
— The city’s newest cop is just 2 1/2-years old, weighs only 75 pounds and is just over 2 feet tall at the shoulder.

But you don’t want to mess with him.

Meet Hardy, not only a German shepherd but also a German immigrant with an advanced education in police work. Hardy has been in the United States about 7 months and still understands more German than English.

Hardy is teamed with officer Shaun Mahaffey in what is thought to be Janesville’s first K-9 unit.

They’ve been working the midnight shift since Oct. 7, and Hardy has helped with four or five arrests, most drug-related. They were introduced to the community early Tuesday afternoon with about 75 people—many of them police officers, city employees and their relatives—in attendance.

For the special event, Hardy wore both his everyday uniform—a working harness—and his dress uniform—a gold badge on a chain around his neck.

Ten-year-old Sam Bornemann liked Hardy.

“He was really calm,” Sam said.

Hardy initially was trained at his breeding kennel in Germany, then underwent months of advanced police training at Steinig Tal Police K-9 Academy in Campbellsport.

The final 21 days of Hardy’s training were with Mahaffey.

Hardy has been trained to detect the presence of four types of illegal drugs, to track, to search both buildings and open areas, to hold suspects at bay, to catch and hold suspects if they run and to protect Mahaffey and other officers.

The dog lives with the Mahaffey family, including two boys, ages 2 and 4, and Mazie, a 3-year-old female Australian shepherd that has become Hardy’s best friend, Mahaffey said.

The dog’s working life is anticipated to be 5 to 7 years, Police Chief Neil Mahan said.

Hardy and Mahaffey will work all three police shifts but probably will wind up on second shift—3 to 11 p.m.—because that is the busiest.

Hardy demonstrated his drug-detection ability Tuesday, picking out a box containing marijuana from a row of cartons. He’s detected marijuana and drug paraphernalia in vehicles from outside the vehicles.

If residents encounter Hardy and Mahaffey, they should be aware that Hardy is a police dog on the job and should ask Mahaffey’s permission before approaching him, Mahan said.

Besides winning over the crowd at his introduction, Hardy already has another fan.

As he sat patiently at Mahaffey’s side, a pickup truck rolled by with a large dog poking its head out a back window. The passing dog let a long, loud howl, which probably translates to:

“How ya doin’? Welcome to Janesville.”

Last updated: 2:41 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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