Every year, hundreds of working dogs give their lives either in the line of duty or after a lifetime of service. These heroic dogs did not volunteer for the careers in which they found themselves. They were drafted, conscripted by their innate drive, ferocity, and athleticism to serve as warriors, searchers, and guardians alongside their human counterparts.
We must never underestimate or forget the sacrifice these brave creatures made to keep our society and world a little bit safer. Below are the names and stories of many of these K9s.
Blue stars indicate killed in service/on duty.
Caryk Shawano, WI PD EOW 8/28/2021 Caryk spent seven years in service to his community. The German Shepherd began suffering health issues recently and his veterinarian discovered a tumor. He was 8-years old.
Boss Asheville, NC PD EOW July 12, 2021 Boss was an active duty K9 at the police department since 2014. He was trained in obedience, agility, narcotics detection, article searches, tracking, suspect searches, and handler protection. At home, he enjoyed spending time with his family and playing with his ball. He came down with a sudden illness and despite an emergency surgery, passed away. He was eight years old.
Kitt Braintree, MN PD EOW 6/4/2021 Kitt began work with the Braintree PD 12 years ago. He is credited with numerous apprehensions, helped with many K9 demos, and was a favorite on social media. He was killed and two officers wounded when they were ambushed during a domestic violence call. The suspect was killed in the shootout.
Kozmo Mesquite, TX PD EOW 4/26/2021 Kozmo and his handler were assisting another department during an overnight search for aggravated robbery suspects. Eventually the suspects were tracked down but the German Shepherd did not respond. He was later found deceased. An investigation is underway to determine the exact cause of death and if he is found to have died at the hands of one of the suspects, that person could face felony charges.
Jill Nevada Highway Patrol EOW 4/12/2021 Jill served both Northern and Southern Commands as a narcotics detection canine. The Springer Spaniel suffered a medical emergency. She was 5-years old.
Salsa Oklahoma City Fire Search and Rescue (Ret.) EOW 4/5/2021 Salsa, originally name Unity, was a black lab who had been raised to be a companion dog for ‘Guide Dogs of America,’ but proved too “spunky” for the role. She passed State Urban Search and Rescue Alliance Type II certification and Type I certification by September 2010. She retired in 2017 and spent her remaining years with her handler and family. She was 15 -years old.
Bruno St. Mary’s County, MD (Ret.) EOW 4/12/2021 Bruno served the county with distinction and was honored with a medal for an apprehension in 2014. The German Shepherd had previously battled cancer and had since retired.
Tippett Massachusetts State Police (Ret.) EOW 4/9/2021 Tippett started his law enforcement career in 2009. The Belgian Malinois was one of the first dual-purpose patrol and firearm detection dogs for the unit. During a career that lasted nearly nine years, he was involved in major cases such as the Boston Marathon bombing. He passed away following a brief illness.
Wessel South Haven, TN PD (Ret.) EOW 2/28/2021 Wessel, a 13-year-old Belgian Malinois, passed away in the company of his former K-9 handler and family. Wessel retired from the Southaven Police Department in October of 2016 after serving the Southaven Police Department for 9 years.
Lando Hazel Park, MI PD EOW 4/2/2021 Lando was born in the summer of 2014 and joined the force the following year. The Dutch Shepherd was trained as a dual purpose patrol dog. He was having trouble keeping food down and went in for an ultrasound when they found widespread cancer. He was 6-years old.
Diesel Canton, OH PD EOW 3/29/2021 Diesel was born and raised in Warren, Oh. He served as a dual purpose patrol/narcotics K9 and worked with the US Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force. The Dutch Shepherd was still an active working K9, but he had to be put to sleep due to rapidly growing cancer.
Pax Gaston County (NC) PD (Ret.) EOW 3/23/2021 After training at Canine Extreme Inc. in Ocala, Florida, K9 Pax began serving with Gaston in 2010. The German Shepherd retired in 2016. He is credited with more than 120 K9 related arrests and helped seize more than $75,000 in illegal narcotics over the course of his career. Pax was 14-years old.
Justice Homewood, AL PD (Ret.) EOW 03/18/2021 Justice passed away shortly after being diagnosed with cancer. The German Shepherd served about seven years on the force before retirement in 2018. He was 12-years old.
Lex Titusville, FL PD (Ret.) EOW 3/20/2021 Lex served the city from March 2010 until retirement in April 2017, during which time the Belgian Malinois served with three handlers.
Niko Blytheville, AR PD EOW 03/10/2021 Niko was born in the Netherlands and joined the force in 2015. The German Shepherd was trained by Blue Streak K9s of Jonesboro and was certified in Patrol, Tracking and Narcotics. He died of sudden kidney failure. Niko was 7-years old.
Cade Grand Traverse County MI Sheriff’s Office EOW 03/05/2021 Cade was born November 27, 2015 and began service with the Grand Travers Sheriff’s Office in December 2016. The German Shepherd specialized in narcotics detection, tracking persons, criminal apprehension, and handler protection. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2020.
Luna Duluth, MN PD EOW 2/25/2021 Luna was a Dutch Shepherd, born in Florida in February 2018 and trained through Northland K9 Foundation. She joined the Duluth PD as the department’s first female dual purpose patrol dog. She was deployed to assist with an arrest during a domestic violence call. The suspect shot her as she tried to apprehend him. Luna died at a nearby veterinary clinic a short time later. She was 3-years old.
Titan Craven County, NC (Ret.) 02/22/2021 Craven served with the Pitt County Sheriff’s office from April, 2011 until 2018 when he transferred to Craven County where he worked there until his retirement in 2018. The German Shepherd was trained as a Dual Purpose K-9 trained in Narcotics Detection, Tracking, Article Searches, and Criminal Apprehension.
Edo Pittsburgh, PA PD (Ret.) Edo has been a K-9 officer since May 2013. The German Shepherd began his training on President’s Day of that year and worked as an explosives detection K-9. The department said he had been having health issues.
Nevo North Fayette, PA PD (Ret.) EOW 2/10/2021 Nevo began with the department in 2014. The Belgian Malinois retired in January 2021 due to an autoimmune issue. He was 9-years old.
Aksel Shelby County AL Sheriff’s Office EOW 02/05/2021 Aksel served with the department from 2009 until his retirement in 2015. The German Shepherd was 13-years old.
Apollo Licking County, OH Sheriff’s Department EOW 2/1/2021 Apollo escaped from his handler after a night shift. The German Shepherd was later found after apparently being struck by a car and passed away later at a veterinary clinic. He had been with the department for six years.
Zorza Hinesville, GA PD (Ret.) EOW 1/26/2021 K9 Zorza was a member of the department from May 2009 until his retirement in 2017. The German Shepherd was utilized as a tracking dog. He was suffering from hip dysplacia.
Taz Sweetwater County, WY Sheriff’s Dept. (Ret.) EOW 1/30/2021 Taz joined the department in 2012 and served for three years until medical condition forced him into retirement. The yellow Labrador Retriever spent the remainder of his life with his handler. He was 13-years old.
Hutch Beaumont, TX PD (Ret.) EOW 1/24/2021 Hutch was born in Belgium and joined the PD in 2009. The German Shepherd retired in 2019 and spent his remaining time with his handler. He was 12-years old.
Ube Brockton, MA PD EOW 1/21/2021 Ube was a Shepherd mix who worked for the Brockton PD for two years. He became lethargic while kenneled during his handler’s vacation. Veterinary exams showed he was in kidney failure. Ube was 3 1/2 -years old.
Rascal Suffolk County, NY Police (Ret.) EOW 1/16/2021 Rascal was originally from the Czech Republic. The German Shepherd was a patrol-certified and explosives detection k9. He was a program dog for the Retired Police Canine Foundation since his retirement. He was almost 10-years old.
Karma Salina, KS PD EOW 1/9/2021 Karma served an 8+ year career providing services to the citizens of Salina with three handlers. The Belgian Malinois participated in hundreds of police activities yearly, including patrol enforcement, narcotics detection, community events, school and community demonstrations, tracking wanted and missing persons, and protecting the safety of others. She passed away due to complications from kidney disease.
Figo Cullman County, AL Sheriff’s Office EOW 01/05/2021 Figo and his handler were injured in a car accident in February 2020. The Belgian Malinois went through intensive rehab and had made progress, but recently had developed health issues. Figo was with the department about three years.
Boomer Routt County, CO SD (Ret.) EOW 1-3-2021 Boomer was born in the Czech Republic in 2013. The German Shepherd started with the department in 2015 and worked with them until 2020 when he developed a serious medical condition. Once Boomer retired he loved playing with his giant ball, swimming, and playing with his doggy friend Mia.
Tom Tom Newton County (GA) Sheriff’s Department 8/31/2021 Tom-Tom served the community for two years. The German Shorthaired Pointer was trained to detect explosives. A spokesman said they will be doing a necropsy as they do not know the cause of death. Tom-Tom was was inside a department vehicle at the time of his death with the vehicle running, and the air conditioner appeared to be properly functioning.
Axel Kent County(MI) Sheriff’s Office EOW 8/28/2021 Axle joined the department in 2019 and was their only dog specialized in detecting explosives. The German Shepherd suffered a medical emergency while tracking a home invasion suspect and died a short time later at a nearby animal hospital. Axel was 3-years old.
Ferdy US Customs and Border Patrol EOW 04/26/2021 The U.S. Border Patrol Del Rio Sector shared to social media Monday morning announcing K9 Ferdy died after a sudden medical condition.
Vando Franklin County, OH Sheriff’s Department EOW 4/19/2021 Vando served as a dual purpose explosive detection/patrol K9 beginning in 2013. He assisted in countless bomb sweeps, provided security for dignitaries, and assisted in multiple tracks leading to the arrests of violent felons. He died following a medical emergency. Vando was 9-years old and set to retire soon.
Jinx Germantown, TN PD EOW 4/13/2021 Jinx served the community for three years as a dual purpose K9. The Belgian Malinois suffered a sudden terminal neurological illness.
Kira New Milford, CT (Ret.) EOW 4/12/2021 Kira was born in the Czech Republic and began her police career in 2011. The German Shepherd retired three months ago. She passed away due to complications related to a surgery to remove a tumor. She was 10-years old.
Delphi New Town, ND (Ret.) EOW 4/9/2021 Delphi served the community for six years. The Belgian Malinois received the North Dakota Veterinary Medical Association’s Animal Hall of Fame Working Dog Award in 2019. She retired in 2019 due to deteriorating medical condition. She was 11-years old.
Nanouc Tempe, AZ PD (Ret.) EOW 4/12/2021 Nanouc served the City from 2010 to 2015.He retired and spent the remainder of his life with his handler. He was 13-years old.
Leo Johns Creek, GA PD EOW 3/30/2021 Leo retired from service in 2018 after a distinguished career spanning seven years. He became a program dog for Retired Police Canine Foundation in 2019. The German Shepherd was suffering from several health issues.
Rex South Haven, TN (Ret.) 04/09/2021 Rex, a 10-year-old Belgian Malinois, retired from the Southaven Police Department in January 2020 after serving the Southaven Police Department for 8 years.
K9 Bishop Selmer, TN PD EOW 3/29/2021 Bishop, a Beligan Malinois, was shot to death after escaping his handler’s yard. The shooter claimed the dog and another K9 were acting aggressively and threatening people, so he got his shotgun and shot at the dogs. Bishop was hit twice and died. The other K9 is recovering at the time of this writing. The shooter is facing charges.
Champ Portland, ME (Ret.) EOW 3/23/2021 Champ was a rescue dog that was donated by the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland in 2010. He served ten years in the force as a detection dog before retiring. In 2017 Champ and his handler were awarded the James Griffith Memorial Canine Team of the Year award.
Tank Massachusetts State Police EOW 3/22/2021 Tank joined the MSP in 2014 when he certified through the unit’s Patrol School and Narcotic Detection School. The German Shepherd suffered from a severe infection.
Ace Montgomery County (TX) Sheriff’s Dept. EOW 03/11/2021 Ace was born in March 2007 and joined the force in 2008. The German Shepherd served until 2016 during which time he found over $1.2 million dollars worth of illegal drugs, found one lost child, located 20 handguns, and found over $650,000 in currency. He was just over a week short of his 14-th birthday.
Charlee Lee County, AL Sheriff’s Office EOW 3/10/2021 Charlee was a black lab who served with the Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officer Division and spent six years supporting children and searching for drugs in Lee County Schools. She was recently diagnosed with cancer after a surgery to have a cyst removed. She was 9-years old.
Storm Cottonwood Heights, UT PD (Ret.) EOW 03/05/2021 Storm was born in January 2007 and was the first K9 in the history of the CHPD. The Belgian Malinois was nicknamed Scooby and had a seven year working career. He was 14-years old.
Bobby Lake Charles, LA PD (Ret.) 03/02/2021 Bobby joined the Lake Charles PD in 2015. The German Shepherd was credited with more than seventy apprehensions before retiring in 2020.
Toby University of Northern Alabama Police Dept. EOW 02/26/2021 Toby was a black lab. He served with the department as a detection dog for nine years. He passed away after a short illness.
Nico(Niko) Pinal County, AZ Sheriff’s Office EOW 2/24/2021 Nico was a 6.5-year old Belgian Malinois. He served with the department for five years and had numerous apprehensions and was responsible for taking hundreds of pounds of illegal substances off the streets. He was recently diagnosed with masses in his lungs and other organs and suffered a decline in health “without a chance of recovery.” K9 Nico was humanely euthanized with his handler at his side.
Ross New Hanover County, NC Sheriff’s Office EOW 02/21/2021 Ross began serving the county in 2010. After working patrol for 7 years, the German Shepherd retired in 2017. K9 Ross is credited with tracking and locating numerous suspects involved in criminal activity and sniffing out many narcotics finds that resulted in taking illegal drugs off the street. He was 12-years old
Zeke Gwinnett County, GA PD (Ret.) EOW 2/15/2021 Zeke worked in the Special Investigations Section from 2013 until 2020 when he retired. The narcotics detection dog also worked with several other agencies, including the DEA, FBI, ICE, Homeland Security, GBI, and the US Postal Inspectors.
Juma Wood Co, TX (Ret.) EOW 2/13/2021 Juma was a fixture in East Texas for several years until her retirement in 2020. She was suffering from Addison’s Disease.
Duke Blair, NE PD (Ret.) EOW 2/11/2021 Duke worked with the department for nine years beginning in 2011. The Belgian Malinois retired about 4 months ago and spent the remainder of his life with his handler and family.
Ernie Kenton County, KY PD EOW 1/30/2021 Ernie joined the force in 2012. The German Shepherd apprehended dozens of dangerous criminals, helped locate lost children and seized hundreds of pounds of dangerous narcotics over the years, and even survived being shot twice while trying to apprehend a suspect in 2016. The incident prompted a change in Kentucky law making shooting a police k9 a felony. Ernie retired in October 2020 and was diagnosed with cancer a short time later.
Loco Canton, OH PD (Ret.) EOW 1/25/2021 Loco was the first Belgian Malinois used by the Canton PD. He served six years before retiring early due to TMJ. He was 13-years old.
Riley Sacramento County, CA Sheriff’s Office EOW 1/19/2021 Riley and his handler were shot to death while trying to make contact with a burglary suspect. The suspect became uncooperative and deputies deployed the K9. The man opened fire, killing the dog before leading deputies on a short chase and ultimately was killed in a shootout with deputies. Riley was a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois from France, and had worked with the department for three years.
Haras BLM High Plains District (Ret.) EOW January 2021 Haras was born in the Netherlands in 2010. The German Shepherd served for six years from 2013 until 2019 when Haras suffered a leg fracture while training. He was later found to have bone cancer and his leg was subsequently amputated. He was also a inductee into the American Police Hall of Fame and was a program dog for the Retired Police Canine Foundation.
Izzy Waunakee, IL Police Department EOW 1/11/2021 Izzy had only been with the department a few months when her tour of duty was cut short. The Black Labrador Retriever passed away due to complications during a routine surgery. Izzy was 2-years old.
Kyra Chatham County, GA Sheriff’s Office EOW 1/6/2021 Kyra served with the department for six years. The Belgian Malinois was credited with many successful deployments including as a detection dog during the PGA Masters. When not working, she enjoyed playing with her housemate dog, a Boxer.
Lazar Great Bend, KS PD (Ret.) EOW 1/6/2021 Lazar came to the department from USK9s Unlimited. The striking German Shepherd served from 2015 until 2019. He was retired due to mobility issues and lived out his days with his handler’s family. Recently he had a downturn in his condition and it was decided humane euthanasia was the best option.