5th Annual Spaghetti Dinner benefit for K9 unit

An Atascadero Police K9 officer with a trainer. file photo

ATASCADERO — Put your paw print on the calendar for a spaghetti feed and evening with members of the Atascadero Police Department K9 unit on Sat., April 27.

Tickets will be available at the door at the Atascadero Elks Lodge at 1516 El Camino Real, but can be bought in advance at the Lodge, Police Department, Chamber of Commerce, Glenn’s Repair and Rental, CarQuest Autoparts or the Grocery Outlet, all on El Camino as well.

Members of the Atascadero Elks, Freemasons and Kiwanis clubs will be cooking up a storm all day in preparation, Pete Novak, co-owner of  Atascadero Grocery Outlet said, adding that he and owner of Glenn’s Repair, Geoff Auslen, are currently putting their shopping list together.

Anything not available at Grocery Outlet they’ll grab at other local retailers. The fifth year they’ve coordinated the event, 10 percent more meals are expected to be sold this year than last.

“The main thing is to help the officers out with supplies and upkeep of the dogs,” Novak said, “People don’t realize that they don’t get help from the state for that.”

Auslen further explained that the $10 ticket price also includes demonstrations from the City’s K9s at half-hour intervals through the evening, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.  Skills the specially trained animals possess include working with their human counterparts to detect narcotics, pursue vehicles and engage in non-lethal tactical takedowns of a ‘suspect.’

“The canines are important for a lot of things we don’t think about,” Auslen said, “tracking, tracking of lost kids or seniors, not just fugitives. Ours [the City of Atascadero’s] are trained for tracking, narcotics and apprehensions. They’re supposed to be set aside for serious crimes but they’re basically a partner for an active duty officer.”

The event raises about $8,000 annually for the upkeep of the animals, and note both Auslen and Novak, has become one of Atascadero’s larger community events but, “we never run out, there will always be some food if you get there,” Auslen said.

He suggested community members get there early or a pasta plate if they planned to also attend the City’s Brew at the Zoo event later that evening.

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