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K9 Leah – Columbia, Missouri

Died – 6/11/17
Handler – Detective Ron Hall

Retired Columbia police dog Leah dies

Leah, a German shepherd who served as a police dog in Columbia for nine years, died Sunday from natural causes, according to a Police Department news release. “K-9 Officer Leah will be sorely missed as we remember her loyal service and constant friendship,” Police Department spokeswoman Bryana Larimer said in the release announcing Leah’s “end of watch.” Leah, who was 12 when she died, served with the department’s Vice Narcotics and Organized Crime Unit. She was born May 30, 2005, and began her training for police work in October 2006 at Moore’s K-9 in Amelia, Virginia.
Leah “served as a family pet full of energy,” the released stated. She began working alongside her handler, Detective Ron Hall, in December 2006. “Leah’s energy never ceased,” evidenced by her successful location of nearly $4.5 million in money and drug seizures during her career, the news release said. Leah retired in November 2015, and spent her remaining years with Hall and his family according to the K-9 Unit’s website. Hall commended Leah’s skill when she retired. “She is incredibly smart,” he said at the time. “It’s been a dream come true for me to be able to have worked with her for the last nine years. “She is irreplaceable.” The Police Department has four other dogs and handlers in its K-9 Unit.

Submitted By Jim Cortina

James A. Cortina has been involved with police dogs since 1972 and currently on the Board of Directors for the Connecticut Police Work Dog Association Inc. Jim has been appointed as Treasurer since its inception in 1991. Jim is one of the charter members of the C.P.W.D.A. organization. Since 1975 he has been a certified professional dog trainer and received his Master Trainer Certification in 1985. During his career he has provided armed K-9 strike crowd control for security agencies in Connecticut and out of state security companies. In conjunction with other members of the Connecticut Police Work Dog Association Inc. Board of Directors, he helped to draft Connecticut Statute 53-247(e) "Intentional Injury or Killing of Police K-9" which was passed by the Senate in 1993 and also assisted in implementing the prestigious Daniel Wasson Memorial K-9 Award in 1992. In 1993 he helped coordinate the North American Police Work Dog Association Nationals in New London, Connecticut. He was appointed Training Director for the New London County Work Dog Association from 1985-1987. He performed decoy work for Connecticut Police Work Dog Association Inc. in police K-9 demonstrations, trained several local police department canines, and coordinated training workshops for out-of-state police departments. He participated in the United States Police K-9 Association Trials in Croton on Hudson, New York in 1985 as a decoy. He is an avid photographer and received photography awards in 1989, 1990, and 1991 and currently takes photographs for the Connecticut Police Work Dog Association Inc.