BREWER, Maine — A $3,500 donation made this week by an anonymous dog lover has saved the jobs of Cierra and Mace, two drug-sniffing dogs who work for the Brewer Police Department.
The money to fund the canine program was cut from the police budget last week, and the dogs’ handlers were given notice that their pooch-partners would be let go on June 30.
That changed this week when a spokesperson for a group that “wants to keep canine programs funded,” called Police Chief Perry Antone.
“The person called and inquired about doing fundraising and collecting donations and grants and I then checked with the Attorney General’s Office to see if it was appropriate,” he said.
After determining that accepting the funds was allowed, Antone called Cpl. Paul Gauvin, who handled Cierra, and Officer Amy Nickerson, who handled Mace.
“They were very excited, very grateful,” the police chief said. “Were very happy we’ll be able to continue the program.”
Brewer has had a canine program for years, and is one reason Nickerson was attracted to working for the city, she has said.
Nickerson, who joined Brewer in mid-2005 adopted 5-year-old Mace while working as a public safety officer for the University of Maine.
The friendly black Labrador has his own badge and is a valuable tool to detect drugs and to make Nickerson more approachable, she said in a 2007 Bangor Daily News article.
The recent donation is considered a grant and will fund the canine program for a year, Antone said. The only stipulation for accepting the funds is that the donor remain anonymous.
City Manager Steve Bost said the spokesman is a local dog lover.
“He was very concerned that [the canine program] remained in place,” he said.