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Thousands of dollars raised from blue pumpkin fundraiser for BPD K9 unit

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The Buffalo Police Department K9 unit just received more than $4,000 from the sale of blue pumpkins, all in the name of fallen officer, LT. Craig Lehner. 

"I'm reminded of the saying, 'when it gets tough, you find out who your friends are,'" Buffalo Police Department K9 Commender, Lt. Salvatore Losi said. "And it took a tragedy to remind us of all the folks out there that support the police."

One year ago today, the Buffalo community came together to honor Lehner at a procession that closed down city streets, and a funeral service attended by so many. A year after that powerful day, Buffalo residents, Allison Milligan and her husband, are still honoring the man who gave the ultimate sacrifice. 

"It's so much more than a fundraiser," Mulligan said. "It's a way for the community to show support for law enforcement."

The couple sold blue pumpkins in honor of Lt. Lehner again this year. They sold about 1,000 pumpkins, and all the proceeds went to what was dear to Lehner's heart: the BPD K9 unit.

"There's just no other way to say it, it sounds like a cliche, (but) he just loved it, he had really found his niche," Lt. Losi said. "The time and effort he put into training the dog... it was way more than a job for him."

There are seven dogs and handlers in the BPD K9 unit. Lt. Losi says two dogs could retire in the next six months. It costs between $7,500 and $10,000 just to get a new K9, and this money could go toward doing just that. 

Milligan is done selling the blue pumpkins this year, but plans to be back next year. She and her husband want to raise even more money for the K9 unit in 2019. 


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