Police Pay Last Respects To Retired K9 As He Goes To Hospital To Be Put Down

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Over 20 West Depford police officers and their K-9s were joined by more than 70 other officers from across South Jersey in front of St. Francis Veterinary Center to pay tribute to a retired 9-year-old K-9 before he was put down.

Cpl. Michael Franks took his German Shepherd named Judge for their last walk together on Friday after watching his partner and beloved dog battle Cushings Disease for months. Since Judge was in pain and constantly experienced vomiting, bleeding and hair loss, Franks made the heartbreaking decision to put him out of his misery.

While Franks was saying his last goodbye to Judge in one of the patient rooms, West Deptford Deputy Chief Sean McKenna said that Judge had gone under surgery and was taking meds for the disease, but it quickly deteriorated.

“The doctors gave him several months to live. He hasn’t been up in a few days. However, today, (Franks) gave Judge his last bite.”

When he mentioned the ‘last bite’, McKenna meant that Franks allowed Judge to chew the K-9 department’s protective arm sleeve, for one last time. The poor dog was still holding his favorite toy in his mouth as he and his broken-hearted handler walked into the hospital.

Glassboro Sgt. Dan Eliasen, who supervises his department’s K-9 division, said all the gathered officers felt the need to pay their last respects and added that every handler experiences the loss of his dog partner sooner or later.

“It’s about showing respect, but also the people who are here wanted to thank Judge for his service to the community. No one has forgotten what he’s done — and that includes protecting his partner and his community. We all go through it. No handler escapes this part of it.”

Although the West Depford community raised more than $13,000 in a single day last year to help pay for Judge’s veterinary bills, the German Shepherd lost his final battle.

He began working as a K-9 in 2007, and served for seven years until health problems forced him to retire in August 2014. During his outstanding career, Judge aided in the arrest of 152 people, helped recover three stolen vehicles and around $47,000 in alleged drug money.

Judge, you will not be forgotten!

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