WOOLWICH TWP. — Mark Magazu, II is no stranger to animals. He grew up working in his father’s animal hospital, Swedesboro Animal Hospital, and since 2010 he has served as President and CEO of the family-owned practice.
Now Magazu has launched a new charitable effort called the Guardian Angels K9 Fund, which is part of the Angels for Animals Foundation that Magazu founded in 2011, to ensure that police and military dogs have access to the medical care they need to maintain health during active duty and retirement, or to return to full health following injury or illness.
Magazu said the idea for the Fund developed after a West Deptford K9 named “Judge” came to his family’s hospital. Judge required advanced specialty care, the costs of which exceeded $12,000, a burden that neither his handler nor his Department could sustain.
“This was the moment I realized that society has a responsibility to serve and protect these service dogs, who put their lives on the line to protect and serve us each day just like our bravest men and women in uniform,” said Magazu.
The reason that medical bills for service dogs can be so high, he said, is because they face the same risks that police officers and military personnel face, including trauma, gunshots and assaults from attackers. Magazu said that service dogs “put their lives on the line for us” and he feels a responsibility to make sure they receive the medical care they need, no matter the cost.
Magazu then worked with K9 Judge’s handler, Cpl. Mike Franks of the West Deptford Police Department, to develop a fund to raise money to pay for veterinary care for police dogs. They appeared on Fox and Friends, a nationally televised morning news program on Fox News, to promote the new fund with Tazor, Corporal Franks’ new police K9.
Magazu said the Fox News appearance helped to bring the fund to a national audience. “After our Fox News appearance, we had numerous interview requests from big media outlets all across the country, and that helped us get the message out,” he said. “We have had people donate from all over the world, and we’ve been contacted by former special forces and military personnel who hoped we could expand the program for military animals.”
Magazu thought this was a great idea, and said he is now working with the military to ensure care for war dogs. “We have service dogs returning from overseas war theaters, especially as our military winds down operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and these dogs are just like our returning war heroes – they have special medical needs and our country owes them a debt of gratitude,” he said.
Beginning in the Winter of 2015, Magazu says that all military dogs returning from war will be partnered with the Angels for Animals Foundation which will help ensure that wherever they are adopted, they will receive the medical care they need to live happy, healthy lives in their retirement years.
“I didn’t have an opportunity to serve in the police department or in the military like so many in my family did,” said Magazu. “This is my way of giving back, because just like everyone else, I owe a debt I can never truly repay to the men and women in uniform who protect our communities and our country every day. This is a mission that means everything to me, and I am inspired by the level of interest we’ve seen from so many others.”
You can learn more about, or donate to, the Guardian Angels K9 Fund of the Angels For Animals Foundation by visiting www.bemyangel.com. You can also donate $10 by texting the word GuardianK9 to the number 41444. You can donate by check by mailing a check to Angels for Animals Foundation/Guardian, 392 Kings Highway, Woolwich Twp., NJ, 08085.