JOHNSTOWN, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On June 25, the Pine Tree Rifle Club hosted its 13th-annual K-9 ride to support the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department’s K-9 unit. The ride was dedicated to a fallen K-9 officer from Amsterdam, that passed away in March. K-9 officer Hyde was named after the first officer killed in the line of duty in Amsterdam, officer Joseph Hyde.

More than 141 riders participated in the 110-mile trek through local communities, including Johnstown, Northville, Speculator, Mayfield, and the Sacandaga Region. The ride concluded at the Pine Tree Rifle Club in Johnstown where riders enjoyed a picnic and camaraderie at the clubhouse.

The K-9 Unit is funded largely from donations, not county taxes, and the deputies and their K-9 partners provide several services to the people of Fulton County. They are trained in tracking, to include finding missing children and endangered adults, as well as tracking fleeing criminals; and they can detect illegal drugs, supporting the Sheriff’s Department’s efforts to combat drug-related crime in Fulton County.

Since the ride’s inception in 2009, the Pine Tree Rifle Club has donated over $120,000 to support the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department’s K-9 unit. The 2022 event raised $26,865.

Over $10,000 of those funds came from a custom rifle raffle. The rifle was purchased by local businesses Kingsboro Lumber, Brown’s Collision, Brown’s Ford, Blood Eagle Weaponry and Frank Grillo. It features the Sheriff’s Department logo, the Pine Tree Rifle Club logo, a K-9, and the thin blue line flag. The club also held a 50/50, which winner Michael Poulin donated back to the cause.

Following the event, Pine Tree Rifle Club President Paul Catucci said, “Our club members are very supportive of law enforcement, and we recognize the valuable and often difficult work they do. The K-9 Unit provides important services to our communities, helping people in need and combating criminal activity. We’re proud to be able to support such a worthwhile program. This event is not only about the club, but also about the community that we live in. The community is very generous and supports US every year and we appreciate that. Most of the volunteers now have been doing these the entire 13 years! That says a lot about the wonderful people they are.”

Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino attended the event and explained, “The members of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department, including our K-9 partners, are dedicated to protecting our communities from crime. Our K-9 Unit plays a key role in locating missing children and adults, tracking criminals, and combating drug-related crime that has such a harmful impact on families and our community. The support of the Pine Tree Rifle Club has been instrumental in maintaining this important capability in my department, which helps us protect the people of Fulton County.”