Sentry Insurance Foundation will pay for new Stevens Point police dog after Luna's death
The foundation announced the donation as the city Police Department and community mourn the loss of the dog. Luna died from multiple organ failure on Sept. 4 stemming from an exposure to wild mushrooms on Labor Day.
The department held a public ceremony honoring Luna Sept. 5 when it presented Luna's handler, Officer J.D. Ballew, a U.S. flag flown in her honor.
Elisha Robinson, Sentry Insurance chief planning officer, said in a news release employees at the company were saddened by Luna's death.
“We understand that having two K-9s is critical to our police department, to our community," Robinson said. "While we can’t replace what Luna meant to J.D. and his family, we’re glad to help the department move forward with its K-9 program."
Stevens Point Police Chief Martin Skibba told reporters last week that the department needs a minimum of two police dogs to cover the city and a new dog costs about $19,000. The department started its K-9 program with $50,000 from community donations. Luna and Fala, the department's other police dog, started in April 2018.
“While our hearts remain heavy, we’re grateful to Sentry for assisting us in getting Officer Ballew a new partner,” Skibba said. “Luna was more than a police dog. She was a beloved member of our law enforcement family, and a valuable asset to the community.”
Police dog kennels often have waiting lists. The kennel that Luna came from opened a spot for Stevens Point after her sudden death, according to a news release.
Acquiring and training a new police dog will happen over the next few months.