YAKIMA, WA - A new non-profit in Yakima is making sure our favorite furry heroes are taken care of, our local K-9 units.

When it comes to catching criminals without putting others at harm K-9s often come to the rescue.

"I would say probably 50-60% of the time at least if the dog actually shows up and starts barking and we start giving those K9 announcements the smart ones will give up and come out," said Joel Panattoni, Deputy/K9 Handler, Yakima County Sheriff's Office.

One thing you may not know about our local K-9 programs is that they aren't fully funded. This prompted a Yakima resident to question, What is funded?

"So what happens when there is no money in the coffer? And The dog has a vet bill or how do they buy their food? Their food is extremely expensive," said Fern hart, Executive Director, K-9 Foundation Yakima Valley.

Deputy Panattoni said "The county pays for me as a Deputy sheriff and my vehicle. Everything that we have in relation to the K-9 programs are done through fundraising."

That means even though K-9's live with the families of Deputy K-9 handlers, the cost of taking care of dogs comes from donations and many times deputies own pocket.

In response Hart said "That's just wrong, and how can we help? Obviously, they need money."

That motivated her to start the K-9 Foundation Yakima Valley to help.

Deputy Panattoni says having the help of the foundation gives them the ability to focus on keeping the community safe.

With the creation of the new K9 foundation, Hart says she wants to help all the K9 programs in Yakima.

"I've promised and committed to both YPD and the sheriff's office that we will get the money. Whatever our dogs need. We are their first contact, we will find it," said Fern.

To donate to the K-9 Foundation click here

Another way you can help is by purchasing merchandise through their online store.