Have you met Benny? He works security at Southland Mall, always on the patrol for suspicious activites while serving as a goodwill ambassador to shoppers. He’s not from around here — Benny is Dutch, with German heritage, so if Benny were to don traditional garb he’d be in wooden clogs and lederhosen. But Benny doesn’t go for such costuming, probably because he’s a dog. Press release:
(Hayward, CA) – Everyone loves Benny the Dog, Southland Mall’s official security K-9. He is no ordinary dog. The four-year-old purebred German Shepherd has the important job of enhancing security at Southland Mall and providing an additional level of comfort for customers who visit the center.
Benny’s partner is John Dluzak, Regional K-9 Handler for IPC International Corp, which works in conjunction with Southland Mall’s security department. Dluzak is a former police officer from Colorado and was a military police officer in the United States Army.
Together Benny and John underwent an intense training academy program and the two have been together working as partners since October 2010. Prior to this, Benny started his training at age 2 in Holland as a service dog.
Benny’s patrol includes detection sweeps where he walks the common area of the mall and looks for suspicious things/persons and he walks the services areas. As an ambassador to Southland Mall, Benny attends the mall’s special events such as visiting the children who are in line to see the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus. He also attends Neighborhood Watch meetings at Southland Mall where the Hayward Police Department updates the community on what is going on in the city.
When he isn’t patrolling inside the mall, Benny rides in a marked K-9 SUV surveying the exterior property. The SUV features a built in computer so it serves as a “rolling office”, a built-in kennel for Benny to stand up, sit down or lay down in and water and food bowls.
Adored by customers, especially the kids, Benny is very outgoing and social. He loves to pose for photos with shoppers and their families, and often ends up on customers’ Facebook pages. Customers are encouraged to speak with Benny and to pet him. If shoppers bring Benny a treat, they must offer him dog specific snacks like milk bones.
Facts about Benny
Started working at Southland Mall in November 2010
Pure-bred German Shepherd with black and tan coloring
Birthday is December 1, 2006
Weighs 80 pounds
Born in Holland
Likes to go to the park and chase rabbits
Favorite toy is a tennis ball
Has his “own” trading card that children collect