AR-News: Another bomb-sniffing dog (Pups for Peace) dies during duty
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Mon May 24 09:29:41 EDT 2004
Bomb-sniffing dog falls in line of duty
By: ARLENE FINE Staff Reporter
Pups for Peace trainers at the grave of Toska, an Israeli bomb-sniffing dog who died during a battle with Hezbollah on the Israel-Lebanon border.
Another Israeli "soldier" has died in the line of battle.
His name was Toska, and he was a member of "Pups for Peace," a squadron of bomb-sniffing dogs that are the newest warriors on the Israeli security front.
According to the Pups for Peace director in Israel, Ronnie Lotan, "Toska was seriously wounded on May 7 in a battle with Hezbollah on the Israel-Lebanon border, and couldn't be saved. Her handler, Ido Shalev, who was also wounded, is hospitalized in Tel Hashomer hospital."
The loss of Toska was a blow keenly felt by the other PFP handlers and people associated with the dog corps. Because he was considered a soldier, Toska was given a proper military burial at the Oketz (K-9 Unit) Cemetery. (Oketz means bee sting in Hebrew, and is the official name for the IDF dog corps because they were originally biting, attack dogs.)
The news was brought to the CJN's attention by Harry and Marvin Friedman. The brothers are Cleveland's leading fund raisers and proponents for the project and past chairmen of the Cleveland Friends of the IDF.
"This is our first dog that has gone down during an actual battle," says Harry. "All the dogs are extremely brave and intelligent. Their detection of bombs at bus stations, schools, malls, synagogues and other public places, has already saved hundreds of lives. They are being used effectively throughout Israel and are highly respected and regarded both by the military and the Israeli citizens."
Pups for Peace was founded by Glenn Yago of Los Angeles. He initiated the program in April 2002 after a suicide bomber detonated a bomb that killed 29 Israelis and injured over 100 in the Park Hotel in Netanya during a Passover seder.
Over the past two years, PFP has raised $2.5 million to effectively train 116 dogs and their handlers. The demand for the counter-terrorism dogs is high. There is an emergency request from the Ministry of Transportation and Egged Bus Company to supply 80 dogs and train 40 handlers because the canines are such powerful terrorist deterrents.
It costs $10,000 to purchase, transport and train every counterterrorism dog. "Pups for Peace has won the hearts of children and we are getting special donations in honor of their birthdays or b'nai mitzvah," says Friedman. Schools and organizations have also held fund raisers to adopt these dogs.
Just this past week, United Jewish Appeal awarded PFP $500,000 for the program. Two PFP dogs will attend the General Assembly of UJC, which is being held in Cleveland in November, as part of the security team.
To find out more about PFP, visit their Web site at www.pupsforpeace.org, or call the Friedmans at 216-591-1100.
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