Fundraiser for police K-9 unit held at Maria’s Italian Kitchen

Antoine Abou-Diwan

Maria’s Italian Kitchen is hosting a fundraiser today to benefit CSUN’s Department of Police Services K-9 unit.

The restaurant will donate 15 percent of sales from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will offset the costs of the dogs, said Capt. Alfredo Fernandez.

“Money raised will go strictly into the K-9 fund,” he added.  “It may be used for training or for unforeseen medical issues.”

The Department of Police Services has two K-9 units.  The German shepherds that are used for the patrol come from Germany, said Cpl. Tom Finnerty, one of the K-9 handlers on the force.

“The dogs that come from Germany are working dogs,” he said.  “It costs $8,000 to $10,000 a piece to bring them over here.”

Dogs that are bred in America are usually show dogs, he added.

Police dogs are trained to locate explosives and narcotics, Finnerty said.

“We got a lot of reports of abandoned backpacks after 9/11,” he added.

Although the number of such reports has slowly decreased since 9/11, the K-9 unit still takes such reports seriously, Finnerty said.

The Department of Police Services said that a female called in a bomb threat yesterday.  She said that her boyfriend was going to place bombs inside the restrooms at Sierra Hall.  The K-9 unit was dispatched, and eventually ascertained that the building was OK.

This is the second year that Maria’s Italian Kitchen has held a fundraiser for CSUN’s K-9 unit.

Greg Jamgotchian, general manager of Maria’s Italian Kitchen, said that he is proud to help the police and CSUN community.

“I know everyone,” he said, referring to CSUN’s police officers and professors.

Last year’s fundraiser raised about $500, Fernandez said.  He added that donations to the K-9 units can be made to the National Police Dog Foundation, in care of Capt. Fernandez, K-9 administrator.

Maria’s Italian Kitchen is located at the corner of Reseda Boulevard and Nordhoff Street in the Vons shopping center.