Newberry Township, PA – Newberry Township Police K9 Tazer died on Jan. 23, following an aggressive bone cancer diagnosis.
“He had been working up until about a week ago,” Newberry Township Police Chief Steve Lutz told the York Dispatch the day after K9 Tazer’s death.
K9 Tazer showed no symptoms of his illness until several days prior, when he just didn’t seem to be himself, WTAE reported.
His partner, Newberry Township Police Sergeant Chris Martinez, took him to the veterinarian for a regular checkup, and was blindsided by what the doctor discovered.
K9 Tazer was found to have bone cancer in both hind legs, and one of his legs was broken, the York Daily Record reported.
The cancer also took his vision.
"He was not limping, he was not showing any indication he had bone cancer, and bone cancer hurts," Dr. Lewis Hartman told the York Daily Record. "But Tazer, true to his spirit, just continued to be Tazer.”
The department notified surrounding agencies, and approximately 70 law enforcement officers headed to the veterinary hospital to be by K9 Tazer’s side in his final moments.
"The overwhelming respect that all these police officers from all these different departments showed ..." Hartman told the York Daily Record. "It was very much a traditional police ceremony."
The officers – some with their K9 partners – stood in two rows and saluted K9 Tazer as he returned to the hospital one last time.
"The fact that Tazer walked right alongside Officer Martinez, through the corridor into the exam room…it was incredible the level of Tazer's strength, stamina, spirit,” Hartman said. “For him to walk when he had bone cancer in both rear legs, that was incredible."
With Sgt. Martinez by his side, K9 Tazer enjoyed some chicken chips – one of his favorite treats – before he was sedated.
“It was a very peaceful, calm process,” the veterinarian said.
K9 Tazer’s final police call then went out over the radio.
“It is with heavy and sad hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved K9 Officer Tazer,” the department said in a Facebook post. “K9 Tazer’s health recently deteriorated to the point that he had to be laid to rest today.”
K9 Tazer, an eight-year-old German Shepherd from the Czech Republic, worked alongside Sgt. Martinez since November of 2010, the York Dispatch reported.
“K9 Tazer successfully specialized in patrol, narcotics detection, and tracking,” the department’s post read. “K9 Tazer assisted numerous agencies across central PA and was the recipient of two Medals of Valor, a Meritorious Service Medal, and four Chief Commendations.”
In addition to his work in the field, K9 Tazer also went to school and community events, where he interacted with children and other members of the public, the York Dispatch reported.
“He was truly one of us,” Chief Lutz said.
“K9 Tazer was a true warrior to the very end and will be missed by many,” the agency’s post read. “We would like to thank K9 Tazer for his dedicated and selfless service to the residents of Newberry Township and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Rest in Peace K9 Tazer.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Newberry Township Police Department and Sgt. Martinez in the loss of K9 Tazer.
Rest easy, hero. Your life mattered.