There is a new effort underway to help Richmond's K9 unit. The thirteen dogs and their officers work out of a training facility on the city's Northside that is overrun with mold, insects and structural issues.
The Richmond non-profit "Friends of Richmond K9" and City Councilman Jon Baliles want city council to put aside money for a new building.
Even though money is tight, Baliles says, it's all about priorities.
"The budget is all about assigning priorities," said Baliles. "There are some items in the capital improvement budget that city council wasn't really thrilled about funding. We wanted to find some priorities that we believe are more important and this is one of them."
The current Richmond K9 facility looks more like a blighted building than an office. The gutters are falling apart, brick mortar is crumbling, and the windows are boarded up.
On a hot day, temperatures in the dog kennels can reach 104 degrees.
"These dogs make Richmond safer," said Jodi Strange, President of Friends of Richmond K9. "The dogs sniff for bombs, find criminals and missing children."
Strange and Baliles teamed up to make a video that asks the public to call their local council members and urge them to support the new K9 facility.
Baliles has already proposed an amendment to this year's budget. It gives the K9 unit $200,000 to plan and design a new facility. But $1.5 million would still need to come from next year's budget to actually build the new facility.
NBC12 reached out to several council members who said they will vote for the amendment because the current K9 building just isn't acceptable. Council says, it has already received emails and phone calls from the public in support of the new facility as well.
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