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La Crosse Area Builders Association creates kennel for new Holmen K9

Kaitlyn Riley

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Coming together for community collaboration, members of the La Crosse Area Builders Association delivered a brand new kennel for a K-9 that will be joining the Holmen Police Department.

When Officer Aaron Hintz found out he would be getting a four-legged partner named Halo, his original plan was to see if a high school shop class would want to build a dog kennel as part of a school project. Unfortunately, COVID-19 canceled those plans.

“I was kind of scrambling to figure out how I was going to get this thing built,” Hintz said.

His hope was to at least get some of the materials donated and figure out the rest from there. Hintz contacted the La Crosse Area Builders Association who took the project and ran with it.

“It feels good,” Kraig Lassig, president of Lautz Lassig Custom Builders Inc. said. “It is not something we do all the time, so it is kind of nice to have one of those projects once in a while. It is good for the local community, so it gives us a good purpose to build something like this for them.”

Crew members from Lautz Lassig Custom Builders donated their time to build the kennel with materials donated by Badger Corrugating, Beaver Builders Supply, Balduzzi Lumber Co., Hallman Lindsay Paints, and Wisconsin Building Supply. Lassig estimated the value of the kennel was at $3,000.

“They did a phenomenal job,” Hintz said. “It went from not knowing how it was going to be done to having the association take it, and it was done 10 days early.”

The finished product needs a coat of stain before it is complete, but the dog structure is insulated and complete with elements to help Halo stay comfortable in all conditions.

Halo will be a duel-purpose dog who will work with narcotics, patrol and handler protection, criminal apprehension, building searches, area searches, tracking article searches and more.

“There are a lot of areas that she can help us that we are not able to do without her,” Hintz said.

This will be the second K-9 unit Hintz has worked with. He noted the local veterinarian and feed supply store also work with the police department to provide product and services for as low of cost as possible.

Halo is a Belgian Malinois who turns two May 23. Hintz will go to Canada this month to retrieve her.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.

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