A newly certified four-legged deputy is now on patrol with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and it’s all thanks to an anonymous donor.

K-9 Ozzy and his partner, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Daniel Barden, began patrolling together on Sunday, June 7.

The 3½-year-old German Shepherd came to the sheriff’s office thanks to a donation from a member of the community, which allowed for the purchase of a third patrol dog.

“They basically wrote a check and said here’s the money for the next dog,” said Douglas County Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Brad O’Dell.

Deputies selected K-9 Ozzy from Adlerhorst International in Riverside, California, after an extensive selection process. Ozzy was born in the Czech Republic, which is where he got his first training.

Ozzy was paired up with Barden, who was thrilled to get the new partner. The two completed their certification and training program together as prescribed by the Oregon Police Canine Association.

“I am really excited about the opportunity to serve our communities with K-9 Ozzy, he is already proving to be a great partner,” Barden said. “We look forward to meeting with community members and being a resource in Douglas County.”

Barden and Ozzy underwent a bonding period for more than six weeks before the certification and training process. Barden will keep the dog with him 24 hours a day — and the training never stops.

“On a constant basis,” Barden said. “We just have to do training specific to what we do here. The reason we have him is for his nose for tracking, that’s the biggest thing we use him for.”

Barden said Ozzy is lovable and even-tempered and works well around kids. Since he’s still a rookie, Ozzy is still adjusting to his environment.

“It’s taking a little time to get used to the new environments and new demands, but everything we’ve put him through he’s done really well at,” Barden said.

The Sheriff’s Office K-9 Program is supported by private donations, Friends of Umpqua Valley Police K-9 Program and various businesses in the community.

“Really, the whole K-9 program that we have here at the Sheriff’s Office couldn’t exist if we didn’t have the support that we do from the community,” O’Dell said.

Bailey’s Veterinary Clinic is providing free medical care for all three dogs, and Coastal Farm and Ranch provides the food for the dogs.

O’Dell said the dogs are great tools, in helping find missing people or wanted people, and he added that the county is so big it could use several dogs if there was funding available. But having three dogs is a big deal for the Sheriff’s Office.

“He (Ozzy) is a deputy, he is a law enforcement animal and we consider him to be part of our team,” Odell said. “He’s one more tool for the community.”

“He’s ready for his first deployment,” Barden said. “When he hears me start to get the car together he starts running circles in his kennel because he knows we’re going to go, he gets excited every time.”

K-9 Ozzy joins K-9 Grim and K-9 Zoro in the Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division.

Reporter Dan Bain can be reached at 541-957-4221 or e-mail at dbain@nrtoday.com.

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Dan Bain is the health reporter for The News-Review. He previously worked at KPIC and 541 Radio.

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