The first thing K-9 handler Sgt. Randy Clinton said to Leon Yard after he was shot was: “What about my dog?”
Yard said he visited York County Sheriff’s K-9 supervisor Clinton when he was recovering after Clinton was wounded responding to a domestic violence call in York County in January. Three other officers were also shot, and one, Det. Mike Doty, later died.
“The K-9 handler was shot first in the incident in January, and his first question to me was: ‘What about my dog?’ Yard said. “And my reply was: ‘What about your dog?’”
Yard said that conversation prompted his efforts, through the Comporium Pioneers Club and with Central Carolinas Animal Hospital, to raise money and give local departments K-9 trauma or first-aid kits.
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With Clinton present Friday afternoon, Yard presented kits to handlers with the York County Multijurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit and the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office.
Yard also will bring two kits to the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina.
Clinton’s dog, Gabby, wasn’t hurt during the shooting, sheriff’s office spokesperson Trent Faris said. The sheriff’s office dogs have trauma kits.
York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said the dog first-aid kits are necessary.
“It’s a sad reality that we’re handing out trauma kits to officers, much less our K-9,” Tolson said. “But that’s the way it is today.”
Lancaster County Sgt. Joel Hinson brought Bandit, a 6-year-old Bloodhound, to Friday’s presentation. Bandit and Hinson have worked together for three years.
He said Lancaster County has three dogs in the K-9 Unit, and the kits are appreciated.
“It’s a big help,” he said. “You never know what they’re going to run into in the field.”
Investigator Dustin Sierra with the York County drug unit has been working with his dog, Ivan, for almost three years.
He said being a dog handler was something he’d always wanted to do. He first worked with the dogs on Clinton’s tracking team, he said.
The drug unit was given three first-aid kits for their three dogs.
“It’s a great thing to have,” Sierra said. “Hopefully you never have to use it.”
Yard said each kit cost about $135, and the group was able to raise over $2,000 during a two-hour hot dog luncheon. Yard gave out 12 kits total.
“Everybody knows what happened that night in January,” he said.
Yard said the community has been excited to help law enforcement officers.
“January convicted a lot of people to do a lot of things for law enforcement,” Tolson said. “And I’ve said this before, we’re very blessed in this community to have a community that supports law enforcement in the way that they do.”