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Pasco Tribune

Zephyrhills Council changes name of dog park for fallen K-9

BY GARY S. HATRICK
Tribune correspondent

Published:   |   Updated: July 23, 2013 at 04:34 PM

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ZEPHYRHILLS - The Zephyrhills City Council voted to change the name of a local dog park to honor a fallen K-9 who died four years ago in the line of duty.

Council members approved changing the Meadowood Paw Park to the Gunner Paw Park Monday in commemoration of the death of Gunner in August 2009.

Gunner was a 4-year-old black German shepherd K-9 that was partnered with Zephyrhills police officer Joe Rinaldo. Gunner was struck by an SUV and killed when trying to cross Gall Boulevard after he and Rinaldo had responded to a burglary in progress at a local business. Gunner had been with the department for three years.

A dedication and official renaming will take place at the park Aug. 10 at 11 a.m. A plaque commemorating Gunner will be erected at the park.

Zephyrhills Mayor Danny Burgess proposed the change.

"I remember when I was on student council and they presented Gunner to city council," he said. "This is the best way we could honor him, by renaming the park in his name and having a plaque there. There's no better way to honor Gunner, especially on the fourth anniversary of his sacrifice and our loss. It's a positive chance to honor a local hero."

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