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Gala benefits local police dogs
Fundraising event Saturday at Oak Room
At the 2018 "Evening for the K9s" event, Cole Strosnider gives K9 officer Nina some personal attention. The 2019 "An Evening for the K9s" silent auction and raffle is set for Saturday and once again will be hosted by the Georgia Police K9 Foundation at the Oak Room, behind Ogeechee Technical College in Statesboro. (Scott Bryant/Herald file)

The Georgia Police K9 Foundation will be "putting on the dog" Saturday evening with the second annual "An Evening for the K9s."

The fundraising event is to help provide active and retired K9 partners with their needs, including veterinary care, said organizer Kyle Briley, a Statesboro police advanced patrol officer and K9 handler.

The event, which includes food, entertainment and the chance to meet area K9s and their partners, will be held at the Oak Room on the Ogeechee Technical College campus from 6–10 p.m. 

For a $20 donation, guests are admitted and receive one general raffle ticket, food, drinks, entertainment and access to a silent auction Briley promises will be "incredible." The auction items are diverse, and raffle items include guns, TVs and grills, he said. 

"Local businesses and nationally recognized companies have donated some awesome products to the general raffle and for our silent auction. This event will have something for everyone," he said.

Additional raffle tickets can be purchased for $10 each, and you do not have to be present to win. 

K9 teams from all across the state will join local teams to meet and greet guests. These include Briley and his dog Rio, Statesboro police Officer Brice Scott and his dog Mono, and K9 newcomer Smokey, who has not been assigned a handler yet.

Also present will be the Bulloch County sheriff's K9 teams — Cpl. Mark Guarino and Gismo, Investigator Dustin Lanier and Pike, and Dutch and handler Deputy Ryan Norton — along with Georgia Southern University's K9 team Officer Benjamin McKeller and his dog Rocky.

While the night is expected to be filled with excitement, the best part, according to Briley, is that guests will be "giving back to a good cause."

"The Georgia Police K9 Foundation is an all-volunteer, 501c3 non-profit organization whose mission is to provide assistance for active and retired law enforcement K9s."

Dress for the event is casual. 

Briley said the inaugural event last year was a resounding success.

"'An Evening for the K9s' is made possible because of the generosity of our sponsors and supporters," he said. "Our board members work incredibly hard for 7–8 months to put this event together. This is one of the best valued events offered in Statesboro."

Tickets will be available at the door. 

"The K9 foundation has been able to give back in many ways," Briley said. "Between providing protective equipment, training and training equipment and providing assistance to the retired K9s for our city and county K9s, we have given a value of over $50,000 worth right back to Bulloch County and Statesboro."

The local K9 teams "take the responsibility of providing a good service to the community very serious. The foundation is able to assist with providing these K9 teams with what they need in order to do this," he said. "Every K9 handler is very appreciative of the support the community gives and to the agencies for supporting the K9 programs."

The foundation has helped over 250 K9 teams all over Georgia. 

Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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