"It is expensive," Police Chief Thomas Flannery of Nether Providence Township said. "For a small organization like ours, it becomes cost prohibitive."
Ridley Park Borough concluded the same. After the department's dog died in November, the Borough Council voted to cut funding for a replacement from the 2012 budget, Police Chief Thomas Byrne said.
Money "is the issue here, plain and simple," Byrne said. "The dog was excellent."
Bryne said he planned to keep lobbying council for a canine unit to help officers with narcotics investigations and tracking.
"I have not sold or disassembled the K-9 car," he said. "I still want a dog."
He faces an uphill battle, given the expense associated with K-9 units and the financial restraints on municipal governments these days.
A highly trained police dog can cost from $8,000 for a patrol dog to more than $12,500 for a specialty animal, such as Folcroft's bomb-sniffing Logan.
That base price is just the beginning.
There is veterinary care; food; equipment, such as bulletproof vests; continued training; liability insurance; and supplemental pay for officers who take the dogs home. And the dogs need specially equipped police vehicles with separate air-conditioned and heated kennels.
It can take tens of thousands of dollars to start a canine program.
"The dog is really a small part of the cost of a program," said Russ Hess, executive director of the U.S. Police Canine Association.
Across the nation, dogs are used to search for drugs, explosives, firearms, corpses, currency, prohibited agricultural products, and people.
They sweep planes, train stations, cargo areas, airports, schools, businesses, and sports stadiums. The dogs protect political candidates and look for children and Alzheimer's patients who have wandered off.
They protect their human partners and perform their official duties, sometimes at the expense of their own lives.
In 2010, Gloucester Township's dog, Schultz, sank his teeth into a fleeing suspect's forearm and was flung into the path of a car and killed.
Daniel W. Hayter, president of Global Training Academy, a Texas company that sells specialty dogs, said business had been booming since 9/11 but was now down slightly because of the economy.
The two most popular specialties are drug and bomb dogs, he said. "That traffic will never go away."
The Delaware County sheriff's four dogs work the courthouse during the day but are available to other county agencies afterward, spokesman John McCann said.
Pennsylvania State Police have 25 dog teams statewide for explosives and accelerant investigations, spokeswoman Maria Finn said.
The Transportation Security Administration has 700 teams nationwide, including a number in the Philadelphia area, spokeswoman Ann Davis said. Three of SEPTA's nine canine teams are courtesy of the TSA, spokeswoman Jerria Williams said. The SEPTA dogs are used mostly to clear forgotten and abandoned packages.
Philadelphia police have about 30 dogs, including two cadaver dogs, according to spokeswoman Officer Tonya Little.
In Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties, about 34 municipalities have dog units.
The Chester County Sheriff's Department has five dogs and four handlers, who often help out local townships. The dogs have responded to more than 1,000 calls in the justice center alone.
To offset the costs of the program, the department looks for public/private partnerships.
Folcroft still has one dog, Umberto, who specializes in drug detection and regular patrol, Police Chief Robert Ruskowski said. Umberto and Logan were both donated by local businesses, he said.
"We probably would not be getting one if it wasn't for the fund-raising," Ruskowski said.
Contact staff writer Mari A. Schaefer at 610-892-9149, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @MariSchaefer on Twitter.