Fest raises funds for Passaic County Sheriff’s K-9 unit

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Paws in the Park an Goffle Brook Park, a fundraiser for the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit was dubbed a success on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. Matt Kadosh/NorthJersey.com

Year two surpasses expectations, organizers say

HAWTHORNE – Jasmine Serrano and her Maltese, Sprinkles, mopped up the competition on Saturday.

The 33-year-old Ridgewood native and her pooch were among 20 North Jersey residents to enter a dog costume competition in Goffle Brook Park as part of the second annual Paws in the Park, a benefit for the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit.

Serrano dressed her pooch as a mop and herself as a maid, winning first-place during at the event, which drew an estimated 2,500 people and 1,000 pooches in its second year, organizers said.

The idea for the costume, Serrano said, comes from a habit the pooch has gotten into of wiping the floor with socks.

“Sprinkles tends to take my socks. She holds them and scurries and uses them to clean up underneath the couch,” said Serrano, who now lives in Woodbridge. “So I said I should put sponges on her to clean the floor and then I thought: ‘I should make her a Halloween costume as a cleaning supply.’ ”

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And so she did.

Funds raised at Paws in the Park will help the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office to purchase bulletproof vests for its dogs, Passaic County Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik said, noting each vest costs about $3,000.

“These vests are custom-made. My understanding is that we’re in need of additional vests,” Berdnik said. “These dogs are part of our canine family. They go home with the officers at night. We have to protect those dogs as we do our officers.”

He noted the increased use of the dogs for patrol, detecting drugs and sniffing out explosives.

Saturday’s event included give-a-ways for dog owners, including new pet collars, food and clothing.

“We have quite a few people here and everyone’s just loving the event,” said Passaic County Freeholder and Woodland Park resident Sandi Lazzara, a principal organizer of the event. “There’s got to be over 1,000 dogs here with their owners.”

Lazzara called the event a “home run” that brought the community together.

The dog costume contest, for which columnist Bill Ervolino of The Record served as one of the judges, was among a series of activities at the Saturday event, which also included a tail wagging contest and demonstrations from the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit on how dogs detect drugs.

Shannon Labue, 27, of Hawthorne, came with her Pomsky, Nala, a combination Siberian Husky and Pomeranian, which earned third place in the costume contest.

The pooch was decked out in a brown UPS costume, with a small box hanging around her neck

Did Nala enjoy the afternoon?

“She loves it,” Labue said. “As long as someone is giving her treats or petting her, she’ll sit, she’ll lick. She’s very friendly.”

Paterson Animal Control Officer John DeCando, who has been with the city for 43 years, could be found giving out free treats for dogs and noted the increased turnout.

“Dogs meet different dogs. It’s like a godsend,” DeCando said. “It really is. This is the best job in the world.”

Email: kadosh@northjersey.com

 

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