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Bil-Jac Foods and The German Shepherd Dog Club of Northern Ohio have chosen this day to Honor the German Shepherd in K-9 police work in Northern Ohio. The Honor is based on their contributions during the calendar year 2003.



Our TOP HONOR COMMUNITY SERVICE AND EDUCATION DOG of 2003 is K-9 MARCO of the Eastlake Police Department. He is here today with his Partner, Patrolman Richard Greer.

Our first Honoree is about to complete his 7th year of service with his Police Dept. He is trained in narcotics detection and tracking. Over the years he has worked with the FBI, DEA, Caribbean Task Force, Ohio State Patrol Lake County Narcotics Agency, the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as numerous local police agencies. But this K-9’s accomplishments are second to none when it comes to public relations. He is known by almost all the school-age children in his city due to his attendance at school functions and the DARE program. He also frequents the community’s dog park. But the highlight of his summers are the swims he takes with the kids at the city pool.


Our TOP HONOR PROTECTION DOG for 2003 is K-9 REX of the South Euclid Police Department, here today with his Partner, Patrolman Michael Fink.

Our second Honoree today has been used in Preventive Action numerous times. Very often, just the presence of the K-9 Unit is a deterrent to discourage otherwise disorderly people from resisting arrest or assaulting police officers. In one incident, officers located a male behind several closed businesses. When the man became disorderly, officers attempted to arrest him and a struggle ensued. This K-9 was deployed using the remote door opener. Upon advising the male that his continued resistance may result in the dog being used to control him, he immediately complied with the officers’ instructions and was handcuffed. In another incident, a large fight at a local bar, the K-9 was used to protect the officers that were trying to control the crowd, and to ensure that those being arrested did not resist.


Our TOP HONOR for BRAVERY DOG of 2003 is K-9 SHEAMUS of the East Cleveland Police Department. He is here today with his Partner, Officer Ray Steadman

On February 9, 2003, our next Honoree and his Partner responded to a shots fired call and a description of a male dressed all in black standing on the sidewalk. The male was observed with a handgun in his hand. K-9 and handler were behind the male as other officers took cover in front of the male and started to give the male commands to drop the gun. The male was not going to comply with the orders. The officer deployed his K-9 partner for an apprehension from the blind side of the suspect. K-9 engaged the subject and took him to the ground, which diverted attention from other officers. Officers were able to gain control of weapon and take it away from male. K-9 was deployed for article search to locate evidence from original call of shots fired. Result was the recovery of 6 spent 9mm casings, 2 live 9mm casings and an empty magazine.


Our TOP HONOR for SUBSTANCE DETECTION DOG of 2003 is K-9 LOUIE of the Lafayette Police Department. His Partner is Sgt. Steve Clark.

Our next Honoree has only been certified since December, 2002. In April, 2003 the Ohio State Patrol requested an assist on a traffic stop. This K-9 performed a sniff of a pick-up truck which had been stopped in Medina. He alerted to the odor of narcotics and during the search of the truck, 92 pounds of marijuana were located. The marijuana was hidden in plastic buckets, wrapped in duct tape and coated with oil. The buckets were then covered in bags of deer food. This was an amazing feat.


Today we have a second TOP HONOR for SUBSTANCE DETECTION DOG and that is K-9 GUNNER of the East Cleveland Police Department with his Partner, Detective Gene Cook.

Our fifth Honoree today works primarily with the DEA and the Parcel Interdiction Team. In June, 2003, a suspicious package from Los Angeles was subjected to a sniff from this K-9 who made a positive alert on the package. With an obtained search warrant, the package was opened and found inside were 12 sealed coffee cans. Approximately 12 kilos of cocaine were recovered from the cans. An open investigation was started through the DEA. Within a few days, another package was retrieved from the same address and a second 12 cans were recovered with the same results. The investigation resulted in 3 arrests in the Cleveland area and 3 arrests in L.A. with 24 kilos of cocaine removed from the streets. Street value was approximately $750,000.00.

Our TOP HONOR VETERAN DOG for 2003 is K-9 THUNDER of the Mentor Police Department, here today with his Partner, Officer Ron Gunton.

2003 began the seventh year for this team working together. During the year, the team compiled 264 total uses, including 11 area searches, 24 narcotics searches, 79 officer assists and assistance in 27 criminal arrests. This K-9 was involved in several suspect searches including one that lasted over two hours in a residential area for a suspect who had fled from his vehicle following a pursuit. The K-9’s perseverance lead officers to a garage that initially appeared to be locked. After speaking with the homeowner, it was determined that the garage door was ajar. Entry was gained and as K-9 was about to released into the garage suspect called out his surrender from beneath the car he was hiding under. He was taken into custody without further incident. Another search involved a suspect wanted on several warrants who fled after rolling his car. K-9 quickly located the suspect who tried to conceal himself by lying in the water of a creek at the bottom of a small ravine. In yet another situation, while working in a SWAT operation, this K-9 was instrumental in preventing the escape of a suspect who attempted to flee from the rear of a location. Once the suspect was taken into custody, the dog located over one-half pound of marijuana between the suspect’s mattresses.


Our TOP HONOR TRACKING DOG for 2003 is K-9 DAMON. Sadly, Damon was lost to cancer February 19th 2004. Here to accept his award is his Partner, Martin Gilliland. To quote him “Damon was a great German Shepherd! A great K-9 partner! A great family dog! He’ll be missed by all”

Our next Honoree excelled in both tracking and drug detection. In 2003, he was credited with saving a woman’s life, tracked down fugitive criminal offenders, detected considerable illegal drugs, and interacted wonderfully with children in the community. In one incident, K-9 and officer were called to assist an Ohio State Patrol unit who stated that the driver of the vehicle stopped and then ran from the vehicle. The K-9 went to the driver’s side of the vehicle and started to track. K-9 pulled his Partner to the north up a small hill and then turned to the west behind a small wood-line. K-9 began to pounce around in the tall weeds and as his Partner approached, the dog was standing on the suspect nudging his head with his muzzle. Another situation involved locating a distraught female who had attempted suicide. The woman had cut herself badly and then fled from her apartment. The woman’s blood trail led to the street but the officers then lost the trail. K-9 was taken to the blood spot in the street and told to track. K-9 pulled the Handler east for about one hundred fifty yards, then stopped and lifted his head. Told to track again, K-9 turned north into a densely wooded area finding the bleeding female lying on the ground about 80 feet from the road. The female was taken to the hospital. The Doctors at Akron City Hospital called and told us that if she had not been found, she would have died from her injuries.

K-9 RENO was the recipient of our Top Honor Tracking Dog since we started our Hero Dog Awards 4 years ago. Bil-Jac Foods and the German Shepherd Dog Club of Northern Ohio want to recognize K-9 RENO at this time as TOP HONOR for a LIFETIME of SERVICE. Here to accept his Honor is Patrolman Dale Merchant and his new Partner, K-9 Major.

Our next Honoree was nominated for a Special Commendation by Patrolman Michael Fink of the South Euclid Police Department. He wrote the following: Garfield Heights Police K-9 Reno passed away September 11, 2003 following a difficult battle with cancer. Reno was an amazing German Shepherd and is missed by all who knew him. I am not sure if you have any award that would be appropriate to honor Reno, but if there ever was a Top Dog, Reno was it. He was responsible for locating no less than 3 suspects, including one who had planned to kill several police officers, including his handler and partner, Patrolman Dale Merchant.”


In light of the work this K-9 accomplished, it is with much pride and sincerity that Bil-Jac Foods and the German Shepherd Dog Club of Northern Ohio presents the GENE JASINSKI HERO DOG AWARD 2003 for TOP HONOR for K-9 SERVICE to K-9 DALLAS and his Partner, Daniel Hughes. Dallas and Dan Hughes retired from the Williams County Sheriff’s Office in March, 2004.

Our Hero Dog this year responded to over 300 calls. In a small county with 4 other K-9’s, that accounted for over 50% of the county-wide calls. During that time he responded to over 85 tracking calls and a minimum of 150 narcotics calls. This K-9 also had over 200 agency assists in which other departments or jurisdictions requested his assistance. Accomplishments included 20 finds from tracking deployments (including 3 Subjects who attempted to commit suicide), over $32,000 in cash seizures, 6 plus kilos of cocaine seized, multiple felony arrests and several life saving finds from tracking requests. He was also involved in the search of a murder victim in Toledo, Ohio. This particular search encompassed over two days of checking local wildlife preserve. Parts of the victim were located, but not the entire body of the missing person. With the location of the body parts, an arrest warrant was issued for the suspect, who remains at large.
But the most career fulfilling call the K-9 received was in March, 2003. A local hunter left his residence at 5:30 a.m. for a day a field, but failed to return home. At approximately 7:00 p.m. his wife reported him missing. Several units were dispatched. The subject’s vehicle was found with no one present. Voice contact was attempted with no success. K-9 was deployed for a possible track from the vehicle without immediate success. After several hours of searching, a neighbor advised of another possible location. K-9 was deployed again for a track and this time was able to pick up an approximately 15-16 hour old track. Shortly after, the Subject was located approximately one-half mile into a wooded area. Subject was still alive, but received critical injuries from a fall out of a tree stand. The subject had two severely broken legs and a severed spinal cord. Doctors credited the K-9 team with saving this Subject’s life although he is currently paralyzed from the waist down.


Kent Police Deptartment

Marcie Shanker Reads the Awards Without Tears - Barely

Waiting Their Turn

Photos By Woodland Designs

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