One might expect a K-9 deputy to be heroic – after all, that is, in part, what the animal is trained for. However, when a K-9 becomes the victim, sustaining serious injury, and yet continues to perform his duty, arguably that K-9 has acted heroically – sacrificing his comfort and risking further personal harm for the safety of his partner, as well as staying in the fight until apprehending a dangerous criminal.
Meet Rek. He is a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois who works alongside Delaware County Sheriff’s deputy Sergeant Larry Dore. They have been work partners for 3 years. Rek lives with Sgt. Dore and his family and is considered their pet. Upon Rek’s retirement, down the road, Sgt. Dore will have the first opportunity to purchase Rek at the employee discounted rate of $1.
The bond this family shares with Rek is undeniable.
As part of Rek’s training, every other Tuesday K-9 officers and their handlers from throughout central Ohio meet for several hours and go through intense training. But even with the most specialized training, one truly never knows exactly how an animal will react in that rare incident when the K-9 becomes the victim and is attacked.
It was in a cold midnight in February when Sgt. Dore was called in as back-up to the Westerville Police Department, whose officers were serving an arrest warrant at a Genoa Township home. As Sgt. Dore arrived on the scene, both he and Rek sensed the scene was already tense and soon saw a struggle ensue among the Westerville officers and the large, angry male subject.
As Dore approached the scene, he quickly gave Rek the order to subdue/attack the large male subject; but to everyone’s surprise, the male punched Rek in the face. The blow resulted in a gash above Rek’s eye. But that didn’t deter Rek; after a few seconds of probably seeing stars, Rek quickly continued the fight and in minutes had subdued the male by repeatedly biting him.
The male subject was transported by medics to the hospital where he received dozens of stitches in several locations, prior to being arrested and placed in jail.
Witness statement from Westerville Police Officer Adam Dross:
“We anticipated there could be some resistance from our arrest warrant, but we were all a little shocked when the subject punched the dog in the face. Not a smart move, as the subject quickly learned. Rek displayed courage, bravery and immense loyalty amid one of the most vicious attacks.”
According to Captain Scott Vance, Sgt. Dore and Rek’s supervisor:
“A deputy never knows what he or she will face at any given moment. And while deputies are trained to expect the unexpected, it is rather difficult to train a K-9 to take a blow to the head and then continue performing life-saving efforts. But the strong bond between human and K-9 deputy and Rek’s enormous will to never give up, undoubtedly saved lives that night while nearly costing Rek his own life.”