COUNTY—Looking to raise funds to support the care and maintenance of a new K9 Unit for the Wayne County Sheriff's office expected to appear later this year, the Sheriffs are hosting a pet first aid and CPR class on April 6 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Park Street Complex (648 West Park Street, Honesdale)

According to the event announcement, “The class is designed for anyone with an interest in 'pawtecting' the safety and wellness of animals.”

Hands-on training will be given for emergency muzzling and restraint, vital sign assessment, canine and feline CPR, conscious and unconscious choking management, and bleeding control/shock management.

There will also be lectures on medical emergencies – including seizures, bloat and allergic reactions – poisoning, environmental emergencies, pet safety and wellness.

The training offered is tailored for pet parents, pet care professionals (groomer, sitter, walker, vet tech, etc.), animal rescue group volunteers and emergency service personnel.

No prior training or experience is needed to sign up.

The class will be taught by Tom Rinelli of Paws N Claws 911.

Rinelli is a 25-year medical services professional and pre-hospital care provider based out of New York State.

Adapting emergency techniques used on humans to be used on pets, Rinelli has trained over 800 students to date to provide emergency care to their furry, four-legged friends.

The cost of the class is $65 per person, a discount of $10 from the course's usual registration fee of $75. This cost covers a handbook, certificate and emergency muzzle.

Those wishing to attend can register online at www.pawsnclaws911.com. Pre-registration and payment are required to attend.

Questions regarding the class can be directed to Rinelli at 631-721-8129 daily until 10 p.m.

Wayne County Sheriff Mark Steelman explained this is the second fundraiser to benefit the new maintenance fund for upkeep of a K9 Unit, the first being a successful t-shirt sale.

Of the prospect for the K9 Unit, Steelman said, “We're really excited. It's going to be a big benefit to the community and help with the enforcement of drug laws.”

The dog “will be utilized by any agency here in the County to search for drugs,” Steelman added. “It's going to be utilized with the District Attorney's Office Drug Task Force. The K9's going to be used for apprehensions when we're serving warrants and also as another layer of security here at the courthouse if need be.”

The Sheriff explained the K9 Unit's purchase and training were funded by assets seized by the Drug Task Force.

The upcoming fundraiser and profits from the t-shirt sale will go towards food and other maintenance costs for the animal.

Deputy Ron Kominski will be the K9's handler and is set to attend training with the dog later this year.

More information about the new K9 Unit will be made available closer to its introduction into the county.