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Stillwater police ‘overwhelmed’ with community support following death of K9

STILLWATER, Okla. – A local police department is thanking the community for its outpouring of support following the loss of a K9 officer.

On July 12, the Stillwater Police Department lost one of its K9 officers, Zena, to an unexpected illness.

Three days after Zena’s death, the Citizens Academy Alumni group asked about starting a fundraising campaign to help raise money for a new dog.

Officials say a new dog costs about $15,000 plus the $8,500 needed for the dog and trainer to attend training in Houston.

Shortly after the campaign started, an anonymous donor donated $15,000 to purchase a new dog.

In addition to the anonymous donation, many local organizations and citizens have pitched in to help.

“The immediate outpouring of support from the community has been humbling and overwhelming,” Capt. Kyle Gibbs, with the Stillwater Police Department, said in a release.

The local chapter of the International Association of Firefighters donated $5,000, while the Frontier Masonic Lodge gave $1,000 to the cause.

In addition to the donations, the police department’s Citizens Academy Alumni partnered with OnCue to sell t-shirts to raise money.

Officials say they just learned that the donations totaled over $9,700, meaning the entire cost for a new dog and training will be covered.

“We want to thank everyone who has supported us through this tragedy and fund-raising effort. We also need everyone to know that all of the donations not used to pay for the new dog or initial two months of training will be placed in a K9 project fund. The money in that project fund will only be used for unexpected veterinary costs, future K9 replacement or other expenses associated with keeping our K9 unit healthy and ready for duty,” Capt. Gibbs said.