Archive for the ‘Police and RCMP Canine Units’ Category

Vahlter: Accidental death of a practising hero



Anne Campeau who works for the Windsor Police Department sent me this photo of two- and- a- half year  old Vahlter, taken during one of his visits to the 911 Centre. 

The Belgian malinois was running through his daily training regimen at the Windsor Police Training Facility with his handler, Constable Paul Brothers, when he slammed into one of the obstacles on the course. 

According to the Windsor Star article written by Sarah Sacheli, it was one of those freak accidents.  The dog had performed the same exercise a thousand times, but this time he misjudged the distance.  He died of his injuries onTuesday, February 2, 2010 at the Walker Road Animal Hospital.

Good Dogs Canada extends condolences to the Brothers family with whom Vahlter lived.  The close bond between police dogs and their handlers is well known.  Vahlter was one out of five police dogs on the Windsor force.

The Windsor Star article goes on to quote Tecumseh veterinarian Catherine Thomson McGhie as saying that any blunt force trauma can be potentially lethal.

If your dog runs into something, take him/her to a vet.  Heads up if your dog is very active and will go to any length to catch that ball or leap that hurdle.

Otis, the smiling police dog


Officer Otis
Officer Otis

Officers with the Mounties Road Safety Unit stopped a vehicle on Highway 33, about 30 kilometres east of Osoyoos, B.C., on the morning of December 10, 2009.

Officers knew something wasn’t right and that’s when they brought in Otis, who sniffed out about a 1.5 kilograms of marijuana and several thousand dollars in cash.

Police used that discovery to get a search warrant for a home in Peachland, B.C., where they say they found a large marijuana grow operation, more cash and a power bypass. Two men and a woman, all in their twenties, were arrested

A picture taken of Otis just after the bust shows the dog smiling, something that RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk says makes him chuckle every time.

Toronto Police Dog Services’ 20th anniversary

Some of the handlers and their dogs

Some of the dogs and their handlers

Toronto has the largest police canine unit in Canada with 32 working dogs and 22 human handlers on staff. 

The Toronto Police Dog Services Unit was launched in 1989 and recently celebrated its twentieth year of operation.                                                                                                                                                               What a pleasure it was for me to watch as these fine teams demonstrated their skills in front of an admiring audience.  The dogs strutted their stuff on this special day.  It felt good to recognize the public service they perform.  During the course of their daily working lives,  these animals are put nose first into hazardous situations.

Police dogs are used both during normal police work and during extraordinary situations.  They apprehend suspects.  They sniff out explosives, illegal drugs, and firearms.  They search for cadavers.  They look for lost people.  They are used for crowd control and they guard while their human partners investigate crime scenes.  They are truly partners to their human police men and women.  Each dog has his or her own badge number. They are officers of the law.

Waiting to perform

Waiting to perform


Although most police dogs are German Shepherds, the Toronto force also has several mixed breeds including a Lab mix, a Spaniel mix, and a handsome and capable Golden Retriever.

PDS Caesar

Caesar and his human partner, Constable Randy Goss, lived their unit’s motto: “Life’s Short – Bite Hard”. He was killed in the line of duty in 1998.
Caesar and Randy Goss, photo courtesy Tom Braid, Edmonton Sun

Caesar and Randy Goss, photo courtesy Tom Braid, Edmonton Sun

At the time of his death, the 85 pound Rottweiler was a 5 year veteran of the Edmonton Alberta Police Service Dog Unit.   As Tom Braid, the photographer who had participated in numerous charity events  with the Unit, said afterwards,  ”People don’t quite get it.  This was not only a dog, this was an actual Police member; his title was Police Service Dog (PSD). Other cops on the street trust these dogs with their very own lives without ever giving it a second thought.  There are many calls that police members make where they will not proceed without a dogman backing them up.”

Caesar was shot while attempting to help police members subdue a distraught, apparently suicidal young man armed with a shotgun on the grounds of Bishop Savaryn Catholic Elementary School.

Fortunately, although it had been a planned outdoor fun day at school, most of the students had gone back inside for lunch because of hot weather. A man pointing a shotgun was spotted wandering around the perimeter of the sports field that was surrounded by three separate schools. The man refused repeated police requests to drop his firearm and instead fired shots into the air. Police services turned to Caesar for help. Read the rest of this entry »

Jim Galloway: Cito

The banner of Good Dogs Canada shows Cito, the handsome German Shepherd left behind after the death of his human partner, RCMP Corporal Jim Galloway who died in the line of duty on the last day of February, 2004. Two thousand officers and 75 canine teams from across Canada and some from the United States attended the funeral. Bagppipes played and

Cito kept looking over his shoulder.

Police dog Cito and his human partner Corporal Jim Galloway were well known in their community and over the years had collared many bad guys and found countless lost children. Just two weeks earlier, Jim and Cito rescued a cold and hungry young boy who had disappeared in a wooded rural area. Read the rest of this entry »

Nitro: Badge #9755

Honouring the fallen Nitro, photo courtesy Lyle Stafford

Honouring the fallen Nitro, photo courtesy Lyle Stafford

This story is amalgamated from research and newspaper articles following the death of K9 officer Nitro.

Thank you to Howard Chow of the Vancouver Police Department.

The Vancouver Police Dog Squad is well known internationally and is considered one of the finest dog squads to be found anywhere. It uses German Shepherds exclusively. Its training methods, refined through its 40 year history, are similar to the classic Schutzhund style training, but the Vancouver Dog Squad’s productivity in criminal apprehension work and urban tracking skills exceeds the character of Schutzhund training practices which are not practical for the unpredictable nature of urban apprehension work.

The Vancouver Police Squad was the first Police Department in Canada to train dogs as a component of its Emergency Response Team. Nitro was one of only a few dogs who made it to work with this team. Smaller in stature than the typical male Shepherd, he was one of the top producers in the unit. He developed a reputation as a very tenacious dog.
Nitro was a beloved member of the Rutter family which he had joined as a puppy and had grown up with Constable Howard Rutter’s two children, Meghan and Matthew. He became an official K9 in June 1999 and became a popular member of the Vancouver Police Dog Squad. The mahogany-brown eyed German Shepherd was the first police dog who was named through the unit’s “name the puppy” contest. Read the rest of this entry »