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written by Shannon Hoyt

I am currently a sophomore attending the University of Wisconsin-Stout, majoring in the Professional Communication and Emerging Media Program, with a focus in Applied Journalism. I am a writer for my hometown newspaper, the Baldwin Bulletin, and the UW-Stout student-run newspaper, the Stoutonia. I am also a member of the Take2 Action News Team, where I broadcast videos and blog about university events. Using these and my skills developed from Leerburg Ent. Inc., I hope to pursue a career in the communications field after graduation.

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Behind closed kennels: The secret life of a K-9 handler

written by Shannon Hoyt

I am currently a sophomore attending the University of Wisconsin-Stout, majoring in the Professional Communication and Emerging Media Program, with a focus in Applied Journalism. I am a writer for my hometown newspaper, the Baldwin Bulletin, and the UW-Stout student-run newspaper, the Stoutonia. I am also a member of the Take2 Action News Team, where I broadcast videos and blog about university events. Using these and my skills developed from Leerburg Ent. Inc., I hope to pursue a career in the communications field after graduation.



Just beneath the knees of our country’s military, police forces, and rescue teams, are smaller versions of our everyday heroes, whose work can be easily overlooked. However, the mystery lies not on what working dogs can achieve, but how the dogs are able to achieve tasks humans cannot.

Ed Frawley, president of Leerburg Ent. Inc., has worked with service dogs for years, helping provide insight into the processes of training and working with these animals.

At the age of 16, Frawley first recognized his interests with training dogs in high school, when he began reading books and teaching his own German Shepherd new tricks. Realizing that this was something he wanted to continue learning about, Frawley expanded his knowledge through attending seminars and classes.

“There is a dog sport called Schutzhund,” said Frawley, “And I went to my first seminar in 1974. I got the bug in that seminar, and I wanted to get more involved. Schutzhund is a European dog sport where the dogs have to track a man, do obedience work, and do handler protection work, or bite work. So that fascinated me.”

Gradually building his experience, Frawley created Leerburg Ent. Inc., a business that produces and sells training videos, as well as equipment. He has also worked with other well-known professionals including Kevin Sheldahl, a recently retired full-time police officer.

“In 1986, or ‘87, I applied for and got a license with the Drug Enforcement Administration and with the Controlled Substances Board for the state of Wisconsin, so that I could have narcotics–heroin, cocaine¬–[at Leerburg].”

Following in his father’s footsteps, Jeff Frawley, son of Ed Frawley and vice president of Leerburg Ent. Inc., also shares similar interests in the field of training service dogs.

“I’ve worked with my dad and Kevin since I was a kid,” said Jeff Frawley. “I mean I was the only kid in grade school that knew what black tar heroin looked like, because I would go hide it for them when they were doing all of their drug dog searches.”

After training and producing videos for service dogs specializing in narcotics, Ed Frawley was soon to advance in his career through working with the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department.

“[The Dunn County Sheriff’s Department] didn’t have an officer that wanted to take a dog. So the Sherriff came to me and said, ‘Would you be interested in coming in and handling a narcotics dog and a patrol dog for Dunn County Sheriff’s Department?’

“So then for 10 years that is what I did. In the beginning it was just a narcotics dog, but then when they saw, after a couple of years, what I could do with the dogs, I was allowed to bring in a patrol dog that can bite and track people.”

Ed Frawley’s first narcotics dog for the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department was a Black Labrador named Gabby. Working with narcotics and tracking dogs, Ed Frawley has also dealt with search and rescue.

“I did some search and rescue type [work], not as much as the narcotics, or not as much as going out and tracking criminals, but search and rescue is fun,” said Ed Frawley. “Search and rescue dogs run around with their nose up in the air trying to catch the scent of the person they are looking for. Whereas a tracking dog has to come out of the car, put his nose on the ground, and find the scent.”

Working with the Wisconsin State Patrol, Dunn County Sheriff’s Department, and the Division of Narcotics Enforcement for the state of Wisconsin, Ed Frawley has built his experience with service dogs impressively. As a K-9 handler, business owner, and dog trainer, he appreciates the art of training these remarkable animals.

“You do it for the thrill of it, you do it because you enjoy training and you have to be kind of an adrenaline junky to want to do it,” said Ed Frawley. “For me, getting out and hunting guys at night, in the woods with a dog, nothing gets better than that. It is way better than deer hunting.”

Ed Frawley no longer works for the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department, and Leerburg does not store Narcotics on the property.



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