Lottery winner and nonprofit provide boost to Minnesota's K-9 police dogs


Minnesota's K-9 police units have received a helping paw this week from a lottery winner and a national charity.

Last year Joe and Rhonda Meath hit the jackpot with a $11.7 million Hot Lotto win, and German Shepherd trainer Rhonda wanted to use some of that money to help the K-9 unit at the St. Paul Police Department.

FOX 9 reports she donated $14,000 to the unit to cover the purchase and full training of a new K-9, and watched 16-month-old "Officer Falco" graduate training school along with several other recruits at a ceremony on Thursday.

This embed is invalid

His partner, four-year patrolman Brian Ficcadenti, told FOX 9: "It's absolutely phenomenal. Without that support, we wouldn't have this today."

The TV station notes training a K-9 is expensive, costing $8,500 to purchase and $4,000 for full training certification, but it is also expensive to equip them afterward.

In Duluth, the Northland K-9 unit were given some help with that this past week by Massachusetts-based nonprofit Vested Interest, which raises money to buy protective vests for K-9 dogs across the country, WDIO reports.

The bullet and stab proof vests are pricey, costing $950 each, and Vested Interest purchased seven for the unit.

"We are very grateful to Vested Interest for making this possible," Lt. Chad Nagorski told WDIO. "Because of budget limits, we can't always afford to buy equipment like this. Sometimes the K9s are in more danger than us, since they are the closest to the suspect sometimes."

This embed is invalid

K-9 dogs are generally German Shepherds and have several uses, from the detection and apprehension of suspects, to sniffing out narcotics or explosives.

The Hibbing Daily News reports K-9 dogs in the north of the state have been busy recently, noting that in the past few weeks they have helped locate a missing toddler on the Iron Range, found a weapon used in a Duluth bank robbery, helped apprehend a suspect threatening a man with a knife in Superior, and assisted with multiple drug investigations.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2020-12-03 at 5.01.58 PM

Body found floating in Minnesota River in Shakopee

Efforts to identify the deceased are underway.

Hennepin County Government Center

Judge finds suspect guilty in 1991 murder of young Minneapolis woman

A 58-year-old man from South St. Paul, who was 29 at the time, has been found guilty of stabbing a 20-year-old woman

northfield community education center

Northfield school fires employee who allegedly gave melatonin to infant

It's against district policies to give a child anything without a parents' permission.

state hockey tournament, mshsl

MSHSL approves 3 calendars to start winter sports as soon as Dec. 21

The start date will depend on whether the state shutdown is lifted.


Drug overdose deaths up 31% in the first half of 2020

Overdose deaths started to increase sharply in March, which coincides with the state-ordered lockdown for the COVID-19 pandemic.

los ocampos

Video: Vehicle crashes into St. Paul restaurant

The fire department is on scene addressing a gas leak.

covid-19, coronavirus

Latest county infection rates are sky-high throughout Minnesota

Kandiyohi County is one of the hardest hit counties in the state.

Jenna Fish

Family's warning after teen's tragic death from CO poisoning at Thanksgiving

A 17-year-old girl from Delano died after Thanksgiving due to carbon monoxide poisoning.


More than $12K donated to MN gym owner who refused to close

The small business is located in town in Wabasha County.

radio station, microphone

MPR, The Current launch new weekly segment called 'The Warming House'

The program will feature feel-good entertainment amid the pandemic.

coronavirus, COVID-19 test

Dec. 3 COVID-19 update: 92 deaths marks MN's 2nd-highest total

The deaths continue to surge amid the worst of the pandemic so far.