First Annual “Who Let the Dogs Out” 5K Run Crosses the Finish Line of Success

By Raven West

When Amber Adam discovered there was a need to support the Ventura Police Department’s K9 Unit she sprang into action. Amber was on a mission and nothing short of success was going to sway her goal to raise funds to provide much needed medical insurance for all the service dogs.

Event Chair and Organizer Ashley Amber with Sergeant Ken Welch

“The K9 Unit is fortunate to have 5 service dogs who aid in the protection of our officers and our residents, but there are no public funds allocated for the protection of the animals, more specifically, medical and dental care. The VPD K9 department relies exclusively on fundraisers and donations. If an animal is injured, the medical costs can run upwards of $10,000 each.”

Officer and handler Anthony Avila reported that when Bolt was injured during training, the dog’s operation cost nearly $3,000, which was paid for solely by private donations.

“The dogs also need their teeth healthy and strong when called into action, and dental care can be very costly as well.”

Amber added that medical and dental insurance purchased through The National Police Dog Foundation would provide coverage for all 5 dogs for around the same price as one individual dog without insurance. “If we could raise enough money to pay for the insurance through hosting an annual event, we could cover all the service dogs now and for the future.”

Amber spread the word to every business, family and friends she knew. The result was nearly 100 participants, ranging from 14 to 67 years in age signed up to run on the sand in Ventura Harbor at sunset.

In addition to the registration fee for the race, donations flooded in from businesses all over Ventura County, including Suz-Anne Shoblom from Damsel in Defense, Adam and Susan Bogue from Bogue Milk Soup in Ojai and Bruce Holly from Kirby Auto, to name a few of the 35 sponsors.

Dr. Ron Atanay, DDS, served as MC. More than 50 volunteers, all wearing bright pink t-shirts, helped organize and run the event. The post-race meal was provided by the Harbor Cove Café.

Live music by performer Tom Weaver included the classic “Who Let the Dogs Out” by Baha Men, and a variety of oldies but goodies that entertained the enthusiastic crowd throughout.

The highlight of the afternoon was the demonstration of just how effective the K9 unit is when they’re called into action. In a flash, these gentle German Shepherds are transformed into a fierce, unstoppable force that strike terror into the heart and body of any perpetrator.

In the thirty plus years since retired VPD Lieutenant Dave Inglis founded the unit, no service dog has ever been killed in the line of duty. This is due in part to careful and thorough training of not only the dogs, but their handlers as well. 









“Our officers go through training to be partnered with the right dog,” explained Sergeant Ken Welch. “The dogs attend a rigorous 5-week Patrol School at the Inglis Police Dog Academy in Oxnard where they are trained in basic obedience, tracking, narcotics detection and apprehension. It’s the training and the partnership that really makes us a team.”

Although this year’s race is over, donations to can still be made by visiting:

Visit  Race Results for official race results provided by Mile 26

Visit: Ventura Police Department K9 Unit, for more information.

Photo Credits: Raven West

Raven West


Raven West is a free-lance writer and published author who has lived in Ventura County for more than twenty years. She has an extensive knowledge of local wineries from Thousand Oaks to Ojai and will be covering special events which take place at the tasting rooms throughout the year.Named in the TOP 50 Authors by

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