Crafty Canines


“Hope,” by Clarence Franklin is a call to end the violence that plagues Chicago. It is painted with messages of encouragement for children. On the back of “Hope” is a plea to “let our kids grow up.” (Benjamin Conboy/The DePaulia)

Almost 200 German Shepherd police dog statues painted by various Chicago artists are on display in the Loop.

The project was a part of the “K9s for Cops” campaign, a cooperative effort launched by the Chicago Police Department, Chicago Memorial Police Foundation and PAWS Chicago.

The campaign is to pay homage to fallen police officers by raising money for their families, as well as to provide free neutering and spaying services for animals in disadvantaged neighborhoods.The statues are primarily installed on Michigan Avenue between Oak Street and Wacker Drive, but a few can also be found on streets adjacent to the Magnificent Mile.

Each 4-foot statue is funded through  $2,000 donations by various Chicago donors, ranging from individual police officers to Lagunitas Brewing Company and the Chicago Cubs. The project was inspired by the “Horses of Honor” campaign in which 125 life-size horses  that similarly aimed to honor fallen police officers. The horses were auctioned off after they were removed, bringing in $480,000 to financially aid the families of slain officers and purchase bulletproof vests for the Chicago Police Department.

The dogs will also be auctioned off after their tour of duty is complete. The date they will be removed is still to be decided.