Meet Morris County Sheriff’s New K-9 Addition Named Zara

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Zara, an energetic, 19-month-old Dutch Shepherd born in The Netherlands, is the newest addition to the Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Section.

The Sheriff’s Office obtained Zara from Upstate K-9, Inc. in Rochester, New York, and she will be handled by Morris County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Corrections Detective Mark Slinger, who was assigned to the K-9 Section in March.

Detective Slinger said that Zara – who weighed in at 51 pounds during her first veterinary visit last week – has already shown a bubbly personality.

“She’s a bundle of joy,” he said.

Zara will undergo agency training over the next six months to be a patrol dog, followed by another four months of training to be a narcotics-detecting dog.  Right now, Detective Slinger said, he and Zara are working on obedience and bonding as handler and K-9 partner.

“She has nice drive and a good social temperament with everyone,” said K-9 Section Detective Corporal Michael McMahon, who will oversee Detective Slinger’s training with Zara.

The K-9 Section currently has 13 dogs whose specialties range from patrol and narcotics, to search and rescue, to accelerant and explosives detection.   The Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Section is a shared service that is available to all 39 municipalities in Morris County.

In 2019, the K-9 Section responded to 1,117 call-outs.  So far this year, K-9 teams have responded to 225 calls – lower because of stay-at-home mandates and quarantines necessitated by COVID-19.

“We welcome Zara to the highly-skilled K-9 Section.  All the dogs in the section are our partners in law enforcement and give us the ability to enhance investigations, curtail crime and find missing people,” Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon said.

The K-9 Section recently garnered national recognition when Detective Corporal McMahon and his K-9 partner Kai – known as #Teamkai – captured the title of “America’s Top Dog” by winning an ultimate obstacle course and breaking speed records on the A&E Network’s reality show series called #AmericasTopDog.

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