SANTA CRUZ -- A Santa Cruz veterinary clinic has made it easy to support a few working dogs at the Santa Cruz Police Department.
For a donation of $10, uniformed stuffed animal K-9s are for sale at Santa Cruz Westside Animal Hospital at 411 Laurel St.
The vet hospital has raised about $2,100 for the Santa Cruz police K-9 Unit since it started selling the toys in February.
"I think this is an extremely worthy cause," said Sgt. Warren Barry, who leads the K-9 Unit. "To have the K-9 unit receive supplemental funding for training, equipment, and medical insurance, it will enhance the unit and in turn assist us in maintaining a high level of service to the community," Barry said.
The police dogs cost $6,500 up front and $6,000 in initial training, said Santa Cruz police spokesman Zach Friend.
The annual cost is about $14,000 for twice weekly training, food, vet bills and other expenses. The K-9s also wear bulletproof vests.
They often help apprehend suspects and search for weapons and drugs. Niko is the department's Belgian malinois. Lobo is a German shepherd.
"Without hesitation they will throw themselves in harms way, desiring nothing more then praise and a quick pat on the head," Barry said.
The plush toys also are for sale at the police station at 115 Center St.
Watsonville police also have sold the toys this year.
Follow Sentinel reporter Stephen Baxter on Twitter at