Dino honored Saturday as community builds K-9 training course - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Dino honored Saturday as community builds K-9 training course

Green Township K-9 Officer Anthony Leibendor and Dino (Green Township Police Department) Green Township K-9 Officer Anthony Leibendor and Dino (Green Township Police Department)

Dino and his handler, Green Township Police Corporal Tony Leibendor, were among several local police K-9 teams expected to demonstrate training exercises and equipment Saturday at the 2nd Annual Vest Fest in Loveland.

The event was scheduled months ago to include the community in putting the finishing touches on a new regional K-9 agility training course at Bodley Park, 10692 Betty Ray Dr.

Sadly, Dino didn't live to be a part of it.

He collapsed and died this week as he tried to apprehend suspects in a toddler's kidnapping.

Related story: Police K-9 dies trying to catch kidnapping suspects, toddler safe

Now, Dino will be honored instead and his handler will receive some much-needed support at a difficult time.

Dino's favorite training track will be dedicated with a plaque bearing his name in a brief ceremony at 12:30 p.m.

It will become part of the K-9 training course used by law enforcement agencies in Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky, according to Spike's K-9 Fund.

The Ohio Carpenters Union in Monroe pre-built 15 obstacles for the facility.

"The community will help us put it together with hammers and drills. This really is a hands-on community event," said Jill Cutter, spokeswoman for Spike's K-9 Fund.

The national organization protects police and military dogs by raising money for ballistic vests. The vests cost about $2,300 each and most communities don't have money for them.

Three K-9s will be fitted Saturday for vests that were paid for by Spike K-9's donors: Oneil from North College Hill police, Roscoe with Oxford police and Leda from Mt. Orab.

There will be hourly raffle prizes, Split the Pot, food, beverages. live music and volleyball players from St. Susanna School in Mason will holding a bake sale.

Proceeds will go to the non-profit whose generous donors have purchased 90 K-9 vests for local law enforcement agencies including Cincinnati, Loveland and Ludlow police and the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.

Nationwide, the organization has vested nearly 400 K-9s.

Founder Jimmy Hatch was inspired to help police dogs after spending nearly 26 years in the U.S. Navy, most of which he was a SEAL, before retiring.

"They save a lot of lives everyday all over the country," he said in an appearance Friday morning on FOX19 NOW.

Hatch was a military K-9 handler and Special Warfare Operator with four Bronze Stars and one Purple Heart.

He was wounded on a 2009 mission to rescue Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan. A military dog also was killed, giving the SEALs time they needed to locate the enemy.

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