Celebrating a Friend to EPPD K-9s

Douglas Wright and Lucy Mattson in front of a plaque honoring their father, Dr. John Wright

A veterinarian who was instrumental in starting the Eden Prairie Police Department K-9 program passed away last fall, and today, members of his family generously donated part of his estate to continuing the work of the EPPD K-9 Unit.

Dr. John Wright opened the Wright Animal Hospital in Eden Prairie in 1954. While he initially worked with large farm animals, his practice evolved into serving smaller animals including dogs.

In 1981 Dr. Wright helped establish the EPPD’s K-9 Unit and provided free veterinary services to the department’s K-9s for 10 years, until his retirement in 1991. During that time, one of his patients was current Chief Jim DeMann’s K-9, Champ. Chief DeMann remembers Dr. Wright as a steadfast supporter of the K-9 program who was kind, compassionate and professional. Upon his retirement in 1991, the EPPD recognized Dr. Wright’s work by giving him the department’s Award of Merit.

When Dr. Wright passed away in September 2016 at age 90, his family wanted to honor his commitment to the EPPD K-9 program. They reached out to Chief DeMann and arranged to donate $15,000 to the Eden Prairie Crime Prevention Fund for the purpose of funding non-budgeted items needed for the K-9 Unit.

Crime Prevention Fund Chair Lisa Toomey, Lucy Mattson, Officer Jenny Ficcadenti, K-9 Jace, Douglas Wright, Chief Jim DeMann

At this morning’s Crime Prevention Fund meeting, two of Dr. Wright’s children, Lucy and Douglas, presented a check for $15,000. A plaque with Dr. Wright’s photo was hung in the EPPD lobby commemorating his legacy. Officer Jenny Ficcadenti and her K-9 partner Jace were on hand to thank Dr. Wright’s family.

A portion of the donation will be used to repair and replace K-9 training equipment, while the rest has yet to be earmarked.