Memorials to Fallen K-9s
The F.A.S.T. Co. donates sets of memorial cards to all partners 
 I need your help to inform me of such losses.

Dept. addresses available for those who want to send condolences to officers. See below

In Loving Memory of   

May 5, 2001
                          The "playful" side of Mako. 
Handler: Deputy Dennis R. Cunningham 
Manatee County Sheriff's Department 
515 - 11th Street West 
Bradenton, FL 34205-7722 
Everything happened so quickly...reactions were to save the officer. A real tragedy! A Manatee County deputy shot and killed a K-9 Corps dog early Saturday after the canine attacked him. Mako and Deputy Jeff Dunn wrestled after the dog mistook him for a car jacking suspect. The dog bit the deputy in the arm and hand and would not let go, even after being ordered by his canine handler. Dunn shot Mako, who may not have heard the commands or was confused in all of the commotion, sheriff's spokesman Dave Bristow said. "There were lots of lights and sirens going off," Bristow said. "Nobody feels as bad about this as Dunn. He's a canine handler himself." Dunn was taken to Manatee Memorial Hospital, where he received 14 stitches. This is the first time in decades that a deputy has had to shoot a police dog, Bristow said. Any time a deputy is involved in a shooting, the department usually conducts an internal investigation. The shooting occurred shortly after 12 a.m. near Ninth Street East and 35th Avenue in Bradenton.  Deputies were searching for a car jacking suspect, who forced a man out of his truck and drove off in it. The deputies spotted the vehicle in the same area, after the owner called 911. Deputies chased the suspect, later identified as Kenneth Whitfield, for 10 minutes. He ran from the car, and canine units were called in to look for him.  Whitfield was captured and charged with car jacking, fleeing to elude and having no valid driver's license. This was not the first violent incident for Mako and his handler, Deputy Dennis Cunningham. Outside of the Outer Limits nightclub last October, Cunningham and Mako were attempting to clear the parking lot. After Cunningham signaled for club patron Craig Holloman to leave, Halloman ran over the five year veteran and Mako with his car, reports said. Cunningham could see his attacker smiling while running him over, he said in his report. Cunningham got up, drew his weapon and ordered Holloman out of the car, but the deputy was hit with the car again. Holloman, who had gotten out of his vehicle, did not have the car in park.  
TO: Dave Bristow, Keith Noordzy Sr. & "Rich,"  Thank You for all of your help in presenting the facts in this tragedy.  
he part about Deputy Cunningham giving the dog a command to release is not true.  Deputy Dunn was giving the dog the command to release.  Since Mako was not his dog, Mako would not release.  Deputy Cunningham did not realize that his dog was attacking Deputy Dunn until he heard the gunshots.
  A correction to the story as follows: 
Deputy Cunningham released K-9 Mako on the suspects of the truck as they ran from it. K-9 Mako followed the passenger and  Cunningham followed Mako. The driver turned and got back into the truck. Deputy Cunningham grabbed the driver to keep him from running the truck into a deputy or starting the chase again. No one realized another deputy was on the other side of the suspect's vehicle. Mako came around the truck and grabbed the deputy by the hand. Deputy Cunningham got in a brief struggle with the other potentially armed suspect, when he got a back-up unit to grab the suspect.  Cunningham went for Mako, but it was too late.  Deputy Dunn had to do what he did not want to.  Deputy Dunn and Cunningham are very good friends and continue today. K-9 Mako did what he was trained to do. The suspects created the confusion ultimately leading to Mako's untimely death. Mako spent three years certified on the road with 75 apprehensions and numerous narcotic alerts. He recently spent 4 hours tracking a burglary suspect through a residential neighborhood catching him in a house. This ended a crime spree of that area. The arrest totals are amazing considering the Deputy Dunn and K-9 Bronco accumulated 80 plus apprehensions during the same period. The  two K-9 teams worked the same times together and frequently helped each other on tracks. The arrest totals are only the arrests the K-9 found during his service.