By CHARITY B. SMITH
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK — Sparky, a Dalmatian statue that sits just outside the fire station, was stolen during the Fire Department open house Oct. 11.
Sparky is a full-sized fiberglass statue that was donated by a resident last spring.
“We were so busy with the open house, I guess somebody was able to wander off with it,” Fire Chief Douglas Lafond said.
Sparky was there in the morning, but photos from the open house show that he was gone sometime between noon and 3 p.m.
Lafond decided to post the dog’s absence on Facebook and has attracted a lot of publicity from it.
“I returned from the fatal accident on Friday (see story on Page 1-A) and found that I had three major news outlets waiting for me, WWJ, Channel 2, and Channel 7,” Lafond said with a chuckle. “I asked them if they were here about the fatal accident. They said no, they were there about Sparky.”
Several people have even reported Sparky “sightings,” but no tip so far has aided in finding the statue.
“I never knew that so many people had Dalmatian figurines,” Lafond said.
Many people thought the dog was real, after seeing the photograph on Facebook, however, Lafond assures people it is only a statue.
“Nowadays we’re so busy at the fire station, there is no time for a real dog,” Lafond said.
Dalmatians traditionally used to be used as a fire dog because the breed is often deaf and the noise from the sirens didn’t bother them.
Lafond said he is hoping somebody will return Sparky, which got its name from the National Fire Fighters Association mascot. However if he is not returned, Oppleman’s Pawn Shop, 6627 Allen Road, has offered to donate a Dalmatian statue to the fire department.
“We never thought anyone would steal it,” Lafond said. “We’ll have to chain him up this time.”
(Charity B. Smith can be reached at email@example.com.)