Columbia police holding ceremony to bless animals

Columbia Police Department to hold "Blessing of the Animals" ceremony downtown

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Furry friends in the Columbia area are getting a special treat this week.

On Friday, the Columbia Police Department is holding a "Blessing of the Animals" ceremony at its downtown headquarters.

The department's chaplain, Father Anthony Giunta, is conducting the service on the birthday of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.

Organizers say several Columbia police dogs will also be part of the ceremony.