Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Fundraising efforts underway to cover medical costs for jail’s canine

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The annual community fundraising campaign for the Chelan County Regional Justice Center’s narcotics-detecting canine is kicking off early this year with a heavy focus on raising money to cover recent unexpected health costs for K-9 Kait, who has grown to become a much-loved community member.

Kait, a 7-year-old border collie who has served at the jail for the last two years, has been on light duty for the past couple of months. She was recently diagnosed with Imerslund-Gräsbeck Syndrome, or IGS. IGS is related to a vitamin B12 deficiency and is treatable with vitamin supplementation and medication.

However, Kait has also developed an issue with fluid building up in her abdomen. A team of veterinarians in Wenatchee and Spokane is working to determine the cause of the fluid buildup. She is scheduled to undergo more tests in the coming days, with the goal of getting Kait healthy and back to full duty.

“Unfortunately, we have exhausted our veterinary budget for the year,” said Corrections Deputy Jacob Lewis, who is Kait’s handler and partner. “Depending on the outcome of her upcoming procedure, we will either have a complete diagnosis with a treatment plan or we will need further diagnostic testing. I want everyone to know that while Kait is tired and rests frequently, she is still her happy self at home.”

Kait is one of only two narcotics dogs working in a municipal or county jail in the state. She is trained to detect six odors, including fentanyl. While the canine is a key component to keeping drugs out of the jail, Kait most recently has been utilized by local school districts to deter drugs from getting into the schools as well. She also serves as a liaison for the jail. Lewis and Kait are regulars at community events and give several presentations a year in schools throughout the area.

Like most law enforcement K-9 programs, the K-9 portion of the jail’s drug interdiction program is community funded. Much of Kait’s care, from her food and gear to her health care, is funded by donations. Fundraising efforts typically kick off in the fall but donations are taken year-round.

The following fundraising efforts are in place:

  • An annual t-shirt sale has begun via CustomInk. T-shirts cost $25 and are available in six colors and adult and youth sizes. The t-shirt design also changes annually. The t-shirt fundraiser is open until August 10, with t-shirts being shipped directly to supporters. Order your t-shirt at CustomInk.com: bit.ly/44KURAF.
  • A GoFundMe account has been set up at bit.ly/43wy9uV The fund will be used to cover her medical expenses.
  • A Venmo account also has been established for donations. The account is available via the QR code attached or by username @CCRJC_K9
  • Direct contributions can be mailed to the Chelan County Regional Justice Center, Atten. Deputy Jacob Lewis, 401 Washington St., Level 2, Wenatchee, WA, 98801.

For Lewis, Kait is not only essential to the jail’s drug interdiction program, but she is also a partner, friend and a member of his family. In two years, she has had a significant impact on the jail and our community, he said.

“People who have had the opportunity to meet Kait know she is one of the sweetest and most loving dogs; she loves serving her community,” Lewis said. “She is a beloved member of CCRJC, and we hope to be able to provide her with the best care and an opportunity to get back to her normal self. We are very grateful for the continued support from all over the world, and we thank our community for being a part of Team Kait.”

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