Dog Park Operator To Consider Renaming In Honor of Lehner

Move Sparked by Petition

Dave Debo
October 27, 2017 - 5:38 am

(WBEN) A grassroots effort to re-name the city's "Barkyard" Dog Park at LaSalle Park in honor of fallen Buffalo K-9 Officer Craig Lehner is gathering thousands of signatures on, and inspiring the private group that operates the park for the city to consider making the change.

Lehner served as a K-9 officer and his partner Shield- named after Jim Shields,  another Buffalo officer who died in the line of duty-  stood watch next to his coffin during his funeral. Police officials say upon his death he will be cremated and interred with Lehner.

"I started watching the funeral.. and what got to me was when the dog got out of the car and started barking and crying, and I thought maybe someone will name a dog park after him," says south Buffalo resident Sherrie Grabp, who launched the online petition drive after Lehner's funeral Wednesday. 


Lehner, a 34-year-old member of the department's underwater rescue team went missing during a training dive exercise in the Niagara River on Oct. 13. His body was recovered after a five-day search that triggered an outpouring of public support.

In light of the effort, the group that maintains and operates the Barkyard at LaSalle Park put out a statement on Facebook, suggesting that they would be willing to look at the change:

Grabp says she has not been in touch with the Barkyard group but is encouraged by their response.  She will still send her petition off to city officials however.  " I think there should be some park named in his honor. I don't want to forget him," she says.

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