The Latin word for law is lex. And that’s why it made a ton of sense to proclaim Novato’s newest police dog Lex after a monthlong
The Belgian malanois, a breed that looks like a small German shepherd, joined the in June and is in the fourth week of a five-week basic patrol training session. Lex and his handler, Officer Kendrick Pilegaard, will start duty Sept. 4 along with new handler Officer Jeff Ames and and his new dog, Metz, according to Captain Jim Beg.
Along with their fellow canine enforcer Ingo and handler Officer Mike Braun, the two new dogs give Novato PD a for the first time since it got its first dogs in 1996, Berg said.
Lex was officially named Tuesday at a meeting of the Novato City Council, which issued a proclamation upon the retirement of canine star and his handler, Sgt. Kevin Naugle.
Captain Jim Berg credited a grassroots group called Pennies for Police Dogs for raising $11,500 toward the costs of the dogs. Combined with a $7,000 pledge from Marin County Supervisor Judy Arnold and $3,500 that had been in raised years earlier and was sitting in an account.
Berg and the council credited Pennies volunteers for their effort. “Makes me very proud because Novato always comes together to solve a problem,” Councilwoman Carole Dillon-Knutson said.
The fundraising is ongoing. If enough money is raised, the dogs will be sent to five weeks of narcotics training at $3,800 per dog/handler, Berg said. In addition, the department will need to find at least $1,700 per year for ongoing training. The American-born dogs cost $8,200.
The department received 108 name suggestions, two of which were Lex. Berg noted that Lex was the name of a dog that received a Purple Heart in 2009 for roadside bomb-clearing duty in Iraq and one incident that killed his handler. The dog suffered significant nerve damage in the explosion.