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
June 27, 2009

Handler: Officer Dan Lesser 
Spokane Police Department
1100 W Mallon Ave
Spokane, Washington 99260
Recent photo of Var recovering after being shot in head on March 17, 2009.

K9 Var to get Purple Heart
Monday, April 27, 2009 at 6pm SPD K9 Var will receive the Purple Heart Award at the beginning of the City Council Meeting.  The ceremony will be held in the Chase Gallery and is open to the public.  The Purple Heart is awarded to those officers who have been injured in the line of duty.  Var will be the first K9 in SPD History to receive this award.
K9 Var, wounded in line of duty, passes away
K9 Officer Var, the German Shepherd who received the Purple Heart after being wounded while chasing a suspect with his partner this last March, passed away over the weekend. Var died from complications over the weekend according to his former partner, Officer Dan Lesser. "I was fortunate to get to sit with him on Saturday," Lesser said in an e-mail Monday afternoon. "I wanted to thank everyone for all of the support that they have given. Var was an amazing dog and you don't realize all the good that he has done and all the lives he has impacted."
Var was awarded the Purple Heart in late April after he was shot and wounded twice by a thief he was following during a foot pursuit with his partner Officer Lesser. He is the only K9 in the police department's history to receive the award for being wounded in the line of duty. He was wounded in action in March while tracking 22-year-old Johnnie Longest during a nighttime foot pursuit.  Longest was tracked by Var when he tried to run from police. During the foot pursuit Longest shot Var twice in the face and leg. Var's partner returned fire and killed Longest. At the time Var had been recalled from retirement to active duty just three days before he was shot and wounded. He underwent surgery for his wounds and returned to retirement, his position on the force taken over by new K9 Rav ... which is Var spelled backwards.

submitted by Jim Cortina, Dir. CPWDA

In Loving Memory of
June 22, 2009

Handler: Officer Danny Sidders
Orlando Police Department Headquarters
100 South Hughey Avenue
Orlando, FL   32801-2501
(407) 246-2470

Officer Had To Shoot Own Dog Who Wouldn't Let Go
Orlando Department's Viper Injured During Pursuit

An Orlando police dog was put down Monday after the dog was accidentally struck by a patrol car and attacked its own handler during a chase, police said.
Officer Danny Sidders and his K9 Viper were trying to capture two men running from a stolen sport-utility vehicle when Sidders' nearby patrol car rolled forward, critically injuring the dog. As Sidders tried to pull a third suspect out of the SUV, the dog, in pain and confused, clamped his jaw onto his handler's arm.
After minutes of failed attempts to get Viper to let go, Sidders was forced to shoot and kill him, Jones said. "It's just sad that the dog wouldn't listen to any command," Jones said. Sidders suffered minor injuries and was treated at Orlando Regional Medical Center.
Driver Nicholas J. Frederick, 19, was arrested on counts of attempted homicide, crimes against a police animal, larceny, and other charges. Passenger Brian D. Haney, 18, faces a count of larceny. A third occupant, 16, was taken to the juvenile detention center on a misdemeanor count of resisting an officer without violence.
The incident began at about 11 a.m., when a police sergeant spotted a stolen SUV eastbound on State Road 408 near Interstate 4, according to a police report. Officers followed the truck off the southbound Rouse Road exit to a dead end. Police tried to stop the SUV, but Frederick rammed several police vehicles, tried to run over an officer and sped off, the report states.
Sidders caught up to the SUV after it stopped at a Kangaroo Express gas station at 14902 East Colonial Dr. Sidders placed his car in park, and both he and Viper jumped out to chase Frederick and the juvenile, who ran from the car, Jones said.
The patrol car slid into a culvert, hitting Viper and critically injuring him. Sidders noticed Haney was still in the SUV and tried to pull him out. He didn't realize how badly Viper was injured, Jones said, and ordered the dog to help him. Instead, Viper clamped his jaws on Sidders' arm and wouldn't let go. Sidders euthanized him.
Viper was 3 years old.
Sentinel Staff Writer Amy L. Edwards contributed to this report.
submitted by Jim Cortina, Dir. CPWDA & Bobby E. Earls, ret. K9 handler, FL

In Loving Memory of
May 11, 2009

Handler: Officer Jarrod Ballard
Florence Police Department
425 N Pinal Pkwy
Florence, AZ 85232
(520) 868-7681
Website -

Florence police personnel are grieving the death of a police dog who was found in her handler's patrol
car behind the police station Monday night.

Vysta, a 3 -1/2-year-old Czech shepherd, died in a police car specially designed for a K-9 unit. The car had been running for approximately 40 minutes when the dog was found deceased sometime between 7 and 8 p.m. The dog's partner was Officer Jarrod Ballard. 
"The bond between officers is strong, but in my experience the bond of officers and their K-9 partners can be even stronger and deeper," said Florence Police Chief Bob Ingulli. "My heart goes out to Officer Ballard. All of us in FPD are in deep grief."
Ingulli asked the Arizona Department of Public Safety to investigate the cause of death.
"When we lose one of our own, we grieve, we want to know what caused this terrible tragedy," Ingulli said. "This is a difficult time for everyone in the department. To us she was an officer, so we are doing exactly what we would do for any other officer who died on duty."

 submitted by Jim Cortina, Dir. CPWDA
FOLLOW UP ------

State report doesn't specify police K-9's cause of death  -  8/13/09  Arizona
State police investigators ruled out several potential causes of death for a Florence police dog, but couldn't reach a conclusion as to what did cause the  apparently healthy K-9 to expire suddenly in the back of her handler's patrol car on the evening of May 11. Vysta,
a 3 1/2-year-old Czech Shepherd, had formerly worked for Mammoth police and had been with Florence since Oct. 15.
Her death stunned and saddened the Florence Police  Department, and Chief Bob Ingulli asked the Arizona Department
 of Public Safety to investigate.

Vysta's Florence partner, Officer Jarrod Ballard, said Monday he had been briefed on the DPS' findings but had not yet read the full report. He said the report ruled out potential causes such as malnutrition, dehydration, heatstroke, poisoning and "any wrongdoing on my part." The dog had been sitting in a police cruiser, specially designed for her safety, for approximately 40 minutes when Ballard found her unresponsive. The air conditioning was on and blowing cold, the temperature in the car was 65 degrees and the windows were up. No one outside the car could have hurt her, Ballard said. The parked car was running
behind the Florence police station.
The DPS found two minor mechanical issues with the car, but nothing that could have killed the dog, Ballard said. He said the lack of a conclusion was frustrating. "You'd like to get some sort of closure." He believes the dog must have suffered some failure related to the heart or brain, which is often the case when a human suddenly dies. Ballard said the loss was difficult. "These animals live with us 24 hours a day; we spend more time with them than we do our own families." It didn't help when the public made assumptions and spread rumors without any facts, he added. "The public shouldn't be so quick to judge until they know the whole story."

He said he has several happy memories of working with Vysta, a drug sniffer. No particular day or event stands out. "Since I got her, every day was exciting and new. Every day was ... another adventure and another success." Vysta was alone in the running car for approximately 40 minutes that evening. Ballard said, "She could've passed five minutes before I found her, or five minutes after I got out of the car. I don't know." He indicated later it was more likely the former; the dog was still warm to the touch when Ballard found her unresponsive.
Ballard said it wasn't an inordinate amount of time for the dog to be alone in the car. "The cars are designed for those dogs to live in there the entire shift time." Dogs typically spend more time than that in a car waiting for their handlers to eat dinner. K-9 cars are also designed for the dog's safety if its handler is unexpectedly delayed. If the air conditioning shuts off, the windows open and a fan comes on. If the temperature in the car continues to rise, a back door pops open so the dog can get out.
On the evening of May 11, Ballard left Vysta in the car while he went in the police station to check out his Taser and computer so he could begin his shift. Before he could begin patrolling, he attended to some walk-in traffic in the lobby. When Ballard finally returned to his car, he instantly noticed an odor. Vysta had defecated, and was not in her usual resting or sleeping position. The officer attempted to revive his K-9 partner, but "it couldn't be done."
  update submitted by Jim Cortina, Dir. CPWDA

Return to K9 DATA Index

Web mistress Louise Krause
birth of site June 1999
Copyright 1999-2008 FAST Co