HPD loses both K-9 bloodhounds, donations pour in

HPD Bloodhound Annie
HPD Bloodhound Annie
HPD Belgian Malinois Jet
HPD Belgian Malinois Jet

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Within months, both of the Honolulu Police Department's bloodhounds had died.

Annie, the long-time K-9, who helped track dozens of missing people was diagnosed with cancer and forced to retire in 2011.

Her replacement, Bella, a young, smaller bloodhound was donated to replace Annie and was just starting to become a dependable scent dog. But in April, she got an infection in her paw and died suddenly.

"She worked her heart out to make us happy and to see her go like that was a really sad thing," said Sgt. Greg Obara of the department's Canine Unit.

Then in August, Annie died.

While the losses hit the officers in the Canine Unit hard, it also left Honolulu without a bloodhound capable of scent discrimination tracking.

"They can tell the difference between where you've walked and where I've walked and if they need to find you they will follow your trail and not be distracted by my trail," explains Obara.

HPD has dogs that can find drugs, explosives, or help make arrests. Jeton, a 4-year old Belgian Malanois, is one of the best when it comes to suspect apprehension, but the department still needs a bloodhound.

"These dogs are used for missing hikers, elderly people who go lost as well as missing children," says Sam Aiona, a board member for the Friends of the Missing Child Center Hawaii, "We really need bloodhounds and we don't have them on Oahu."

Each cost about $9,000 and it isn't in HPD's budget.  The organization held a fundraiser last Thursday. Live and silent auctions brought in about $30,000.

"People have been very generous, we've been lucky over the years," says Charlene Takeno, also with the group.

Adding to that, two private donors also made hefty contributions.

Joyce Jeffers, whose husband was a canine officer years ago, and Sherry Takaki, who was an HPD dispatcher.

There is now enough money to buy bloodhounds for Honolulu, Maui and Hawaii Police. Plus, another Belgium Malinois for HPD.

"Its coming from my heart," says Takaki, "I love animals and I'm doing something for a job that I love."

"We couldn't have done it earlier in our life," says Jeffers, "But we can now so I'd rather do it now while we're here."

The dogs are trained on the mainland and are expected to be in Hawaii, ready to work, by early next year.

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