West Reading Avenues Summer 2021 - 8

West Reading Peeps
I
n June of 2018 on a cool summer evening far away in
Holland, a sweet Belgian Malinois pup, not knowing
what the world had in store for her, was born. ZEA, as
we would come to know her, came from a special bloodline
with the express purpose of producing K9 police dogs.
There are different schools of thought on the perfect K9
breed, but the Belgian Malinois is becoming more and more
popular for police work due to exceptional intelligence,
love of being active, and amazing agility. Weighing in at
only 65 pounds full-grown, Zea is able to jump and climb
and fit just about anywhere with ease, compared to other
K9 breeds like German Shepherds and Giant Schnauzers
that weigh in at 100-plus pounds. After some training in
Holland, the breeder began to communicate with and send
videos to the Progressive K9 Academy in Allentown for
potential placement here in PA. In one video, Zea was
tasked with finding a PAPER CLIP that had been hidden
in a huge field. She found it in record time as if to say - is
that all you got??
West Reading Peeps...
PUPS that is!
MEET ZEA AND
K9 OFFICER
BRANDON
BREITENSTEIN
By Denise Drobnick
6
Avenues Summer 2021
Enter Officer Brandon Breitenstein, a Governor Mifflin
and BTI grad who knew from a young age that he wanted
a career in law enforcement. He initially thought he would
become a lawyer, but by middle school realized he actually
wanted to be a police officer. He followed that dream,
entering the Reading Police Academy after college and
joining the West Reading PD in 2015. West Reading had
already had 3 previous K9s partnered with K9 Officers
Holben and Marks (now both sergeants.) In 2018, Brandon,
an animal lover, was poised to become the next K9 officer,
and a meeting with then 14-week-old Zea was arranged by
the Allentown academy. Zea's talents were apparent, but if
dog and handler didn't hit it off, it wouldn't be a good fit.
Needless to say, she ran right up to Brandon and the two
were fast friends. He was struck by the fact that she was
small and tan in color, with only one little spot of black
on her nose, and female (most K9s to-date were male).
The two spent the next 8 weeks in training together, and
a partnership was formed.
Zea has certifications in narcotics detection, obedience,
and patrol tactics from the NPCA (National Police Canine
Association) and she is recertified annually. She is trained but
not certified in tracking, only because tracking certification
is not yet available through the NPCA. In fact, article
searching is a particular strength for Zea - and a job she
seems to enjoy. Recently, after a vehicle full of suspects
involved in a shooting in another municipality ended up
in West Reading and ditched their guns in a residential
neighborhood, Zea was able to locate the weapons, sitting

West Reading Avenues Summer 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of West Reading Avenues Summer 2021

West Reading Avenues Summer 2021 - 1
West Reading Avenues Summer 2021 - 2
West Reading Avenues Summer 2021 - 3
West Reading Avenues Summer 2021 - 4
West Reading Avenues Summer 2021 - 5
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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/WestReadingAvenues/WestReadingAvenuesNovember18
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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/WestReadingAvenues/WestReadingAvenuesWinter2017-2
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