PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — When a member of law enforcement retires, they have the peace of mind of knowing their medical expenses will be taken care of. But, what if that officer or deputy is a dog?
Lt. Clint Cabbage and his K-9 partner, Fin, have worked a lot of cases for the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office over the years, from finding missing people, to tracking down suspects, to sniffing out drug rings.
“They are a great tool and they are better at what they do than we are,” said Cabbage.
Yet after all the hard work, when a K-9 deputy retires they are not given any type of pension or medical benefits. All of it is passed onto their handler, in this case, Lt. Cabbage. Fin retired in 2018.
“Doctor bills are expensive vet bills are expensive, he gets allergies pretty easy so there for a while I was going to the vet a lot for that when he first retired,” said Cabbage.
Fin and Lt. Cabbage are not alone. There are 32 active K-9 deputies serving the sheriff’s office who will all retire one day.
“When a K-9 is working he is another deputy, he has a badge, he’s issued a badge just like any other deputy,” said Cabbage.
So four years ago the community came together to create Pasco’s Retired K-9 Fundraiser, with all proceeds going back to our furry officers.
“When they retire now they have the same benefit as the deputy has, basic health insurance, and it’s a tremendous help for the dog and the family,” said Cabbage.
Over the past three years, the group has raised more than $40,000 through their annual Retired K-9 Classic Golf Tournament.
“So that helped me probably save hundreds if not thousands of dollars,” said Cabbage. “It can be very expensive very quick and I’m lucky that’s a worry off my mind,” said Cabbage.
This year’s tournament is scheduled for Sept. 25. For more information and how to sign up go to www.pck9golf.com
You can expect to see several two-legged and four-legged deputies in attendance.
“Really the dog is the big celebrity you’re just the shofar, the maid, the cook,” said Cabbage.