A New Jersey police department paid its final respects to a beloved K-9 Friday with a goodbye fit for a hero.
Judge, a 9-year-old Czech German shepherd with the West Deptford Police Department, was euthanized Friday as more than 90 police officers gathered to honor him one last time.
Officers and their police dogs came from across South Jersey to say farewell to Judge, The South Jersey Times reported. They lined the streets leading up to St. Francis Veterinary Center in Woolwich Township as Judge’s handler, Cpl. Michael Franks, drove him to his appointment. More cops flanked the sidewalk and saluted as Judge walked into the clinic.
Judge carried the K-9 department’s protective arm sleeve, his favorite toy.
During his career in law enforcement, Judge helped apprehend 152 suspects.
Inside, the animal hospital staff followed the cops’ lead: they lined up inside the clinic, too, as Judge walked in.
“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 told the newspaper. “No one has forgotten what he’s done — and that includes protecting his partner and his community.”
Judge started working with Franks in 2007. During his seven-year career, he apprehended 152 suspects during 280 deployments. He helped seize three cars, three handguns, countless drug stashes and more than $47,000 in drug money, the department said.
WEST DEPTFORD POLICE DEPARTMENT
K-9 Judge started his career with the West Deptford Police Department in 2007. K-9 Judge served the residents of West Deptford for more than seven years.
He was forced into retirement in August 2014 because of issues with his teeth. Judge was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease, a condition that causes hair loss, vomiting, weakness and bloating, last year.
As his condition worsened, the West Deptford community jumped in to help, raising more than $12,000 for the pup’s medical bills.
Still, Judge continued to get weaker. Franks made the heartbreaking decision to put his partner down when he stopped eating and walking.
“He was a true asset to our department and will be forever missed. RIP Judge,” the department wrote on its Facebook.