HALLANDALE BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) – A Hallandale Beach Police officer is asking for the community’s generosity to help pay for his now retired K-9’s treatment after the dog was diagnosed with lymphoma.
Hallandale Beach Police Capt. Tom Montellanico said the city is unable to pay for treatment for Artos, so he is asking for donations so that his partner can keep up the fight.
“It’s so painful. I don’t even want to think about it,” he said. “At this point, it’s like a loss of a family member.”
Montellanico said Artos was his constant companion when the dog was an active member of the force.
“He would sleep in my house with me everyday. We’d get up and go to work together everyday,” he said. “He was literally with me everyday, vacations and everything.”
But Montellanico’s world came crashing down when his retired K-9 of six years developed lymphoma.
“It’s almost kind of shock, because Artos was such a healthy dog,” he said. “He’s had the best medical treatment that I could afford for him. He’s had the best food I could afford for him. He’s had everything that you would want your dog to have, and he still ended up with cancer.”
Artos began working with the department back in 2013 and was a vital part of the Criminal Apprehension Unit, even bringing in more than $11 million in seizures to the city.
“He found countless numbers of firearms, most of the time illegal,” said the captain. “They would be used in different crimes, thrown places, and it’s very hard at night.”
But Montellanico said that paying for Artos’ treatment is putting him in serious debt. He has paid nearly $21,000 out of his own pocket, and he needs a total of $25,000 to cover all the costs.
He has even enlisted the help of Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper, who hosted a socially distanced fundraiser on Friday to help raise funds.
“It just broke my heart, and I know how expensive it is to take care of dogs in general, but even a sick dog, and the money comes out of their pocket,” said Cooper.
Montellanico said it’s that kind of help and appreciation that he hopes can help heal his four-legged friend.
“If I could get the money to keep him alive, it would be the equivalent of saving one of your children,” he said. “I don’t have any children, so he is like my child.”
If you’d like to donate to Artos’ medical fund, click here.
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