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TNK9 - Cleveland, Ohio, USA (Tom Hockett)
By Wynn Koebel Foster - Norridge Harwood Heights News (10/12/2006)
New police ambassador: 4 legs, sweet disposition
The Harwood Heights Village Board welcomed two four-legged visitors -- Odysseus and Selene -- to the Sept. 28 meeting. The pair are father and daughter Cane corsos, who traveled to the village from Cleveland, Ohio, accompanied by their breeder John Hocket.
Nine-week-old, 20-pound Selene will stay in Illinois. She'll be the Harwood Heights Police Department's first K-9 officer, partnered with Officer Al Palacz.
Cane corsos are Italian mastiffs, whose history dates back 3,000 years to the Coliseum in Rome. They fought there, accompanied armies into battle, then later turned to herding and protecting property. Selene, exhausted by the long drive from Cleveland, slept through most of the meeting in Palacz's arms, while her 120-pound father roamed through the crowd, making friends.
"I picked this breed because Cane corsos are known for being nonaggressive," said Police Chief Marty Podosek. "We want to be able to bring her to schools and demonstrations with us."
When fully grown, Selene will weigh between 100 and 110 pounds. She'll be able to pull 2.8 times her weight in dead weight and bite through a fire hose. She's just the third of her breed to serve as a police dog outside of Italy. One is currently working in Beechdown, Ohio; the other, in Hoopeston, Ill.
Selene was donated to the village's police department by Hocket. State Sen. James DeLeo, D-10, secured a $10,000 for the department to use for establishing its K-9 Unit. Podosek, who obtained free training for Selene and Palacz through the Cook County Sheriff's Police Department, will use the grant money for other K-9 Unit expenses.
Already, Palacz and Selene are working hard at socialization and other skills she'll need for her new job. They've started work at the Cook County Sheriff's facility at 138th and Harlem Avenue, under the watchful eyes of Sgt. Joe Goduto and master trainer Joe Rosenau. Selene will be taught to respond to commands in German.
She's getting along well with Palacz's wife and stepdaughter, as well as the family's 2-year-old cocker spaniel, 7-year-old German shepherd/rottweiler mix and 7-year-old cat.
"She snuggles with the rottweiler, steals the spaniel's bones and plays with the neighbors' pets, too," Palacz said. "She's already housebroken, and she's not afraid of storms, sirens or fireworks. She gets along with everybody, particularly children and babies."
Palacz is trying to expose Selene to the sorts of places and situations she'll encounter on the job. They've visited stores, parks, pet shops and the Schiller Park Police Department. She's tried her paws out at walking a raised plank and twice successfully tracked Palacz, who ran a zigzag path through 500 feet of tall weeds and lay flat on the ground until she found him.
The department hopes to certify Selene in three specialties -- search and rescue, narcotics and defense. How quickly she learns is dependent on how quickly she matures, Palacz said, adding they're a step ahead of other K-9 Unit partnerships, because they're learning together while Selene is still a puppy.
"And she likes doughnuts, too," he grinned.
Aloha and ciao,
California Cane Corso
Cane Corso Owner Since 2001
12/13/2006, 8:02 pm
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