ANAHEIM, Calif. (March 17, 2016) -- Anaheim's first monument honoring the bravery and dedication of the city's K-9 officers is set to be unveiled and dedicated on April 3 at La Palma Dog Park.
The community is invited to attend this special event, which pays tribute to the brave police dogs that serve alongside Anaheim Police Department officers to protect lives and keep our city safe.
The life-size bronze sculpture to be unveiled was inspired by a 2014 incident in which Anaheim Police K-9 Bruno was shot in the line of duty.
Bruno, who survived the shooting and months of recovery, became an international sensation with an outpouring of public support. Bruno now enjoys retirement and his "job" keeping a watchful eye on his family's children.
After the shooting, Anaheim Council Member Kris Murray met with residents and business leaders to come up with a way to honor the city's K-9s.
From there the idea of a monument was born, and thanks to community volunteers, money was raised to bring a sculpture to Anaheim.
Residents led the Kash For K-9s fundraising. The Anaheim/Orange County Hotel Industry provided a $25,000 donation, while children gave change in a touching show of support.
The La Palma Dog Park monument and another planned for the future Olive Hills Dog Park are funded by community donations, spearheaded by the Kash for K-9s community volunteer committee.
"The Anaheim Police Department's K-9 officers are vital to the public safety of our community," Murray said. "Residents, families, community leaders and our businesses came together to privately fund these extraordinary monuments to honor the sacrifice and service of our K-9 officers and to recognize the important role they play in our daily lives to ensure the safety of all who live, work and play in Anaheim."
San Rafael artist Susan Bahary, who specializes in dog, horse and sea life sculptures, created the monument. Her design of a life-size K-9 with its head high and alert won approval by the Anaheim Cultural and Heritage Commission.
Bahary sculpted the first official U.S. monument to heroic war dogs. "Always Faithful" was unveiled at the Pentagon in 1994 then dedicated and installed at the U.S. Marine Corps War Dog Cemetery on Guam. Additional editions of "Always Faithful" have been placed at other locations across the country.
The sculpted K-9 in the La Palma Dog Park monument represents all Anaheim Police dogs now in service or retired, as well as future K-9s.
For more information, please visit Anaheim.net/K9Monuments.