FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WFRV) – The Fond du Lac community has stepped up to support K9 Iro and local law enforcement after that officer-involved shooting over the weekend.
After making sure her son who lives next door was okay, local artist Mindy Leitner said her next move after hearing about what had happened was to pick up a paintbrush.
“That was my way of dealing with it because my talent is artistry,” said Leitner who owns Wall Art by Mindy in Fond du Lac. “I was walking around wondering what to do and then it occurred to me to paint the dog.”
Using a social media post, she grabbed the biggest canvas she had available to her and began painting a picture of K9 Iro. She said doing this helped her get through the uncertainty of that stressful morning.
Leitner also lives near where the shooting happened and said that the gunshots woke her up.
After finishing the painting of K9 Iro, she displayed it on a fence near the shooting scene. She said she wanted to provide some hope on an otherwise sad day. She said some of the law-enforcement officials got emotional when they saw the painting.
“Right from the start I could tell they were really grateful and that was very gratifying,” she said.
Soon, she said people were reaching out asking if they could buy a copy of the painting. She said community vendors helped her make poster copies of the original painting and starting on Friday they will be for sale. All proceeds will go to the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office’s K9 program.
Those interested can purchase a poster at the sheriff’s office, EP-Direct, C.D. Smith Construction, Stone Oak Coffee Haus, Animal Outfitters, Sam Meyer State Farm Agent’s office at 42 N. Main Street, Indigo Gallery, and Urban Fuel Coffee Station.
More information on the fundraiser can be found on the ‘Art for Iro’ Facebook page.
“Really represents that the people of Fond du Lac when need be if there’s a problem, we’re there and I’m proud to be part of that community,” said Leitner.
Art isn’t the only way the Fond du Lac community is showing their support for K9 Iro and their local law enforcement.
Rosenow Elementary School teacher Suzanne Gruett helped organize a ‘Go Blue for Iro’ fundraiser on Thursday. Teachers and students wore blue and made cards and a blanket for Iro.
They also raised about $1500. The student council at the high school also donated $1000 bringing the grand total to about $2500.
“It kind of gives me chills because it’s awesome that people want to show their support and help out,” said Gruett. “I think it’s important to let them (her students) know that we are all in this together. We all pitch in when somebody needs a little bit of help. A little bit of kindness can go a long way.”
Gruett said she knows K9 Iro’s handler’s family so making the decision to do this fundraiser was an easy one.
“We want to thank them for their support and always being out there in the line of duty,” she said. “We hope the K9 and the handler are doing well.”
The Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office has been posting updates about K9 Iro’s recovery process on their Facebook page.