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McLaughin pays $10,000 for Israeli anti-bomb dog

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In what he called “an intelligent response to saving lives,” state Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin (D-Flushing) presented a $10,000 check to Pups for Peace for the purchase and training of a bomb-sniffing dog for Israel last week at a news conference outside Young Israel of Hillcrest.

Pups for Peace was established four months ago as an emergency charity under the supervision of the Golan Fund, a philanthropic organization that aims to assist growth in Northern Israel. The charity’s board hopes Pups for Peace can raise enough money to train at least 1,000 dogs which will be placed at strategic locations all over Israel to sniff out bombs before they are detonated.

“If we had dogs at border crossings, schools, bus stops, markets and shopping malls, I think it would prevent death, give Israelis a greater sense of security and make Arabs feel (bombing Israel) is not such an easy thing,” said Barbara Fix, a Pups for Peace coordinator and board member for the Golan Fund.

The $10,000 donation will fund the three-month training of a Labrador retriever, which the fund is naming Baruch (Hebrew for Brain) in honor of the assemblyman.

McLaughlin said he was motivated to raise money for Israeli security when he learned that the State University of New York system was considering canceling its exchange program in Israel after the cafeteria bombing at Hebrew University in Jerusalem that killed five American students.

“It should strike all of us that we just can’t let these terrorists win like that,” McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin, who raised the funds privately, justified using a small portion of capital funding to support Pups for Peace because of the American students who will be sent to Israel as part of exchange programs, he said.

He also used the public opportunity to urge other elected officials to do all they can to support Israel.

“We want to make a powerful statement to all elected officials that whatever bully pulpit we have should be used to stand up for Israel,” he said.

McLaughlin was joined at the conference by City Councilman David Weprin (D-Hollis) who had just witnessed the fearful state of Israeli society firsthand when he visited the country as part of the City Council’s mission to Israel. Both Weprin and McLaughlin said the dogs are an efficient as well as practical security measure.

“(Bomb prevention) is tying up manpower left and right and they haven’t had dogs in any large numbers. We may be talking about saving thousands of lives,” Weprin said.

So far, the organization has raised enough money to train about 50 dogs, but will need to raise much more to come close to its ultimate goal of 1,000 dogs. McLaughlin said he hoped his donation would inform people in the community about the young charity and encourage them to make donations.

“There are a good number of people in our community who participate in philanthropy,” McLaughlin said. “If people know that for $10,000 they can save so many lives, I think they will step up to the plate.”

Posted 7:22 pm, October 10, 2011
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