PICKENS — After months of fundraising efforts and applying for grants, the city of Pickens will welcome their newest member to the police force at the end of February — a 15-month-old female Belgian Malinois named “Zenia.”
Officer Braden Wimpey of Pickens Police was selected as Zenia’s partner and will join her for an intensive two week training course prior to the pair taking to the streets full time.
Zenia arrived in the states in early January from a kennel in Holland and has been undergoing training at Kirchner Canine Consultants for Drug detection and Tracking.
“She’s not a ‘bite’ dog or an attack dog,” said City of Pickens project manager Becky Horace. “She’s a person tracking dog and a drug dog. Braden has really taken charge of this whole thing, he wanted this dog, he really has made it happen.”
According to the American Kennel Club, Belgian Malinois were originally bred as herding dogs in Malines, Belgium. The breed is known for their intelligence, stamina and agility.
Malinois have been recognized as a specific breed by the AKC since 1959.
Fundraising to collect the nearly $12,000 needed for Zenia was kicked off last August with the city’s Venture Outdoors Day.
“What we did was split the proceeds from that,” said Horace. “So half of the money went to the K-9 fund.”
Collection boxes were also placed around town to help cover the costs and Wimpey himself applied for several grants.
Wal-Mart, Jeff Holder Builders, Foothills Gun & Pawn, Manna Health, Carrol Wilson, Blue Ridge Electric, Janice Saytovic, Jerry Blackwell, PS Chiropractic, The American Legion #11, The Mill Church, Pickens Family Dentistry, Farm Equipment Supplies, Domino’s Pizza, Ace Hardware, De Gaspe Beaybien Consulting LLC, Clemson Kennel Club and Pace & Reeves all contributed to help “bring Zenia home.”
“I would also like to thank JR Bowers,” said Chief Travis Riggs. “(He is) a generous little boy who came into City Hall, saw the donation jar, and gave his own $.02. A big thank you to all in the community who helped to make this happen through your donations and fundraising efforts.”
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.