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Canines lend a paw to neighborhood watch programs throughout the country

Posted Jul 7, 2014 12:30 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Dog owners throughout the country are teaming up with their tiny Chihuahuas and imposing German shepherds to take a bite out of crime.

Human caretakers out walking their dogs help keep a watchful eye out for suspicious activity in programs such as the Mulkiteo, Washington, police department's new Paws on Patrol, the Seattle Times reports.

The nonprofit National Association of Town Watch is credited with starting the first Dog Walker Watch program in a Philadelphia suburb six months ago. Already, some 500 groups nationally have signed onto the concept.

“There are 75 million dog owners in this country. That is a huge resource,” NATW, executive director Matt Peskin told the Times. “We started the program with about 25 dog owners, and it has grown really quickly."

At a recent training session for human participants, Multikeo police officer Colt Davis urged walkers to be careful out there.

“This isn’t about stopping criminals and shouting: ‘Paws on Patrol. You’re under arrest!’ ” he told attendees. The session was intended to help them recognize suspicious behavior and provide the most useful information to emergency dispatchers.

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