Stark County dog fighters helped in World War II

Thousands of dogs like "Duke" Pictured here are recruits for military duty during World War II "defense dogs," It had chapters in Stark County and found dogs for the Army and Marines canine units.

75 years ago on New Year’s Day — two years after the end of World War II — a former sergeant in the United States Marines reportedly came home a hero after serving overseas.

“After nearly two years of service, a brief article in the Canton Repository of Wednesday, January 1, 1947, reported, “Sergeant Sparks, the famous Marine Corps ‘Devil Dog’ of Canton, is back in America. Served in major engagements at Bougainville, Peleliu, and Okinawa, New Caledonia, Guadalcanal, Espiritu Santo, Guam, and Panama Canal, and with the occupation forces in Japan.

The moniker “Devil Dog” was more than just a nickname attached to every member of the Navy even before World War I. Spark was really a dog. Years ago a Canton man donated dozens of other dogs from Stark County and thousands of cats from across the United States to the war effort — through the “Dogs for Defense” program.


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