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Community Unites to Aid Wounded California K-9

Bobbie Griffith will sleep well tonight, unlike the restless night she spent after hearing about Anaheim police dog Bruno being shot and seriously wounded while protecting his human partner, R.J. Young, and three other SWAT officers and citizens.

Unable to sleep, the Dog Park for Chino Hills activist rose at 3 a.m. and wrote a proposal to raise money for Bruno's medical expenses after he is officially retired.

Griffith's dog park peers unanimously agreed "Breakfast for Bruno" was an excellent idea.

Applebee's Restaurant/Chino manager Andrew Grombacher and 200 dog advocates, law-enforcement agents, private citizens and municipal and state elected officials worked together to raise $5,000 in a few hours Saturday. Money was still coming in after the breakfast ended.

Bruno, Young's canine partner for six years, was first officer on scene during a search for a suspect who'd fired on probation officers. The German shepherd was shot in the face.

"The bullet went in under his tongue, pierced the skin at his jaw, shattering his jaw," Young lamented. "It exited at his chin, re-entered his chest, then ricoheted off his chestplate and down to the left, missing his heart by less than an inch. It pierced his left lung, so the upper half of that lung had to be removed."

Bruno has undergone several surgeries and is being treated at Yorba Regional Animal Hospital. He has not been retired yet, but most likely will be because of his extensive injuries. Young will then buy Bruno from the department for $1 and be responsible for his extensive medical expenses.

The nonprofit Friends of the Anaheim K-9 Association and public donations will help Young with those costs, Griffith said.

"We want to give dogs like Bruno the best retirement we can as payback for all the years they spend on the streets protecting us," said Cheryl Timmons, co-founder of the Friends group.

Los Angeles County sheriff's Deputy Scott Maus, Anaheim police Capt. Bob Conklin and Chino K-9 Officer Brandon Heidelberg said citizens and cops are banding together to help Young and Bruno.

William Wynne of Mansfield, Ohio, a pioneering World War II K-9 military handler in the Army Air Corps 26th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron, said human and canine partners, like his Yorkshire terrier Smoky and he did in the jungles of New Guinea, depend on each other for survival.

Diners, moved by Bruno's story, left donations.

The majority of law enforcement attending Saturday's event were from the Anaheim and Chino police departments, the San Bernardino County sheriff's Chino Hills station and the Los Angeles County sheriff's Transit Services Bureau, Explosive Detection K-9 Division.

Other participants included Nigel Allsopp, a Brisbane, Australia, K-9 officer and author of "K-9 Cops: Police Dogs of the World"; sculptor Susan Bahary, who created the Sacramento bronze memorial for police dogs killed in the line of duty; and Chanwoo Kim, 17, a Diamond Bar High School junior.

Copyright 2014 - Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Calif.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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