A much-loved police dog has been given a hero’s farewell after months wracked by illness.
German Shepherd Judge, a former star with West Deptford police department’s K-9 unit, was saluted by New Jersey authorities on Friday as he was escorted into an animal hospital to be euthanised.
The retired nine-year-old had been suffering from Cushings Disease since November. Symptoms of the condition include hair loss, muscle wastage, lethargy and excessive panting.
Despite successful fundraising of more than $13,000 to pay for Judge’s vet bills, he became increasingly ill and a medical decision was taken to put him down, Gloucester County Online reported.
Judge was escorted into the Swedesboro Animal Hospital by his owner and former police partner Cpl Mike Franks. The dog carried his favourite “sleeve” in his mouth as the pair walked between lines of saluting officers.
The sleeve is the cuff used to train the dog and is regarded as a toy by the animal.
In his eight-year career, Judge was deployed more than 280 times, aided in the arrest of 152 people, the seizure of three vehicles, the removal of three handguns from the streets, drug seizures and the confiscation of more than $47,000 in cash.
"It's about showing respect, but also the people who are here wanted to thank Judge for his service to the community," Glassboro Sgt. Dan Eliasen, who supervises his department's K-9 division told NJ.com.
"No one has forgotten what he's done -- and that includes protecting his partner and his community."