Two dogs. Same breed. Same handler. Same birthday. A tragedy made better by a generous gift.
The Kansas City Police Department was fortunate to get the attention of Summit Nutritionals International, Inc. ® The company donated $12,000 to purchase a new canine to replace Brunie, who died in the line of duty in September. The new dog is Rico, a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois, who will partner with Officer Jason Brungardt. Rico and Brunie even have the same birthday.
Helping police departments who have lost canines is a worthy cause for Dr. Caesar DePaço, Founder & CEO of Summit Nutritionals International, Inc. ® & President, Deanna Padovani-DePaço.
“It has just become something that became very important to my husband and me,” Deanna said. “We feel that it is very important to fill that void and to keep everyone safe with their dogs.”
Summit Nutritionals ® is on a mission to help step-in and pay for replacements after tragic losses of canine officers. Brunie died after a search for a suspect in a wooded area led to him contracting dysautonomia, a fast-moving degenerative disease of the nervous system.
Summit Nutritionals ® also is willing to help law enforcement agencies launch canine units.
“It takes a lot of funds and support from the community,” Deanna said. “But we want to be there to help them get that started.”
Caesar and Deanna DePaço had the pleasure of watching Rico become certified in patrol work.
“He passed with flying colors,” Deanna said. Summit Nutritionals™ bought Rico from Vohne Liche Kennels in Denver, Indiana, the source of KCPD’s other dogs.
After the loss of his previous canine partner, Officer Jason Brungardt said he is truly blessed to get Rico. He plans to use Rico as a dual-purpose patrol dog, trained for patrol work and detecting explosives. Officer Brungardt likes to describe Rico as a light switch.
“He will go out and take care of business immediately,” he says. “He will then come right back and turn that light switch off and be all loving and want to nuzzle up to you, he is truly an exceptional dog.”
The team will be ready for whatever comes their way. “Anytime there is a bomb threat or just regular calls for service, we will be right there to take them down,” Brungardt said.