Fremont Students’ Idea for a Police Dog Retirement Program Is Included in Assembly Budget
SACRAMENTO – The budget request made by Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) and Fremont Students to provide a retirement program for retired police dogs has made it into the Assembly Budget.
“I am thrilled that the students were successful in eloquently expressing their arguments to my colleagues about why police dogs deserve to be provided will a modest budget allocation to help cover the cost of their care. After all, police dogs, who do heroic and strenuous work while on active duty,” said Assemblymember Quirk after learning of the Assembly Budget Committee’s action.
The students had the following reaction when they learned of the Assembly’s action:
“Since medical care for older dogs is so expensive, many hard-working police K9s end up either creating a big bill for their owners or they are unable to get the care they need, simply because their handlers can’t afford it. I am very happy to know we are one step closer to paying our debt to police dogs doing dangerous and difficult work, because they have earned it and deserve it. This is the right thing to do. Go California!” –Trinidad Hellman, Age 12
“I am so happy that as a result of our work on our 401K9 project, that K9 police dogs are now a step closer to getting the retirement benefits they need. Since currently there is no agency that even provides a total count of the number of active or retired K9s, I think that this will also bring us closer to tracking the critical services these loyal dogs provide.” –Samih Qureshi, Age 11
“By allocating funds to help K9s that are too old to work, we are strengthening the important bond between humans and dogs, and between hard working, loyal partners. I’m proud to be living in a state that is playing a lead role in helping to care for the many K9s that take care of us every day.” –Sahir Qureshi, Age 14
“Police dogs perform an incredible service, including being able to keep billions of dollars of drugs off of our streets during their working years, just to mention one of many amazing things these dogs do. This small amount of support we, as a state, are considering giving to support retired K9s, is nothing compared to the value they bring to all of our communities.” –Malin Sapkota, Age 14
“I am delighted to hear that after K9s have grown too old to continue to work, that some of these dogs in California will finally receive the support that they deserve, and that most people assume was already being provided. And as an elementary-school student, it is thrilling to know that government will listen to kids who have good ideas to share.” –Karina Sapkota, Age 10
These students, from Niles Elementary School and Washington High School, are members of “We Love Pi,” which is part of the First Lego League (FLL), an international robotics competition. As part of the program, students are required to identify a problem based on the year’s theme and develop a solution. These students spent months on their project, named 401K-9, to create a program for police dogs when they retire – either because of age or injury.
Senate and Assembly Budget Committees will meet in Conference Committee to finalize the 2017-2018 Budget. A decision on whether or not to include the retirement program in the State budget will be made public the week of June 12.
Elected in 2012, Bill Quirk brings his PhD in astrophysics and career as an educator and scientist to the State Assembly. He is the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials. He is also Chair of the Select Committee on California’s Clean Energy Economy. He is a member of the Agriculture, Public Safety, Revenue and Taxation, and Utilities and Energy Committees.
Website of Assemblymember Quirk: http://www.asmdc.org/quirk