Sheriff’s office mourning loss of police dog

POLICE DOG BECKY made 600 calls during her career with the sheriff’s office. She had to be put down earlier this month at the age of 10. (Provided to The Courier)

POLICE DOG BECKY made 600 calls during her career with the sheriff’s office. She had to be put down earlier this month at the age of 10. (Provided to The Courier)

By RYAN DUNN
STAFF WRITER

If anyone could sense a problem with police dog Becky, it was Fred Smith.

Becky started eating less, moving slower and struggling to catch her breath.

The different look in her eyes suggested something was not right, said Smith, Becky’s handler for the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office.

“Whenever I got her out, she took a couple steps and kind of just laid down,” Smith said.

Smith carried Becky to the veterinarian, who discovered a ruptured tumor in her spleen.

Surgery could not guarantee a cure because of her age and the damage that already had been done, Smith said.

“Even then, she wouldn’t be like she was,” Smith said. “It’d be hard for her, I would think, because she wouldn’t be able to return to duty and do things like she’s used to.”

Smith had her put down on Jan. 13. He called it one of his toughest decisions.

Over eight-and-a-half years, Becky, who lived to be 10, totaled 600 calls, including criminal cases and public demonstrations.

Becky’s efforts were vital in many drug cases. In 2007, she alerted Smith to 543 pounds of marijuana inside a tractor-trailer near Bluffton.

She helped uncover a theft ring that spanned several states because of a traffic stop. Smith searched a car to discover bags of money and maps with notes on them, he said.

Children were enamored of her during demonstrations, Smith said.

Becky’s outgoing nature made her one of the office’s most visible employees, Smith said.

Smith said he saw Becky more than his co-workers and family members. His wife and children adored her as well, he said.

“The more you spend time with that dog, the more you trust her with just about anything,” Smith said.

Kevin, the sheriff office’s other police dog, is 7 years old. He remains active, but may be limited after a few more years of work, said Sheriff Michael Heldman.

Purchasing and training a new dog costs about $10,000. New equipment reaches about $3,000, Heldman said.

Those interested in donating toward a new police dog can contact the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation, he said.

“Personally, I’d like to see some overlap between when Kevin retires and the new dog comes on, to work and train together,” Heldman said.

Becky will stay with the Smith family after Coldren-Crates Funeral Home cremated her. No additional services have been planned yet, he said.

Smith praised Becky as a loyal police dog who was excited for each call, even when he was not.

“She always wanted to please … and do what you ask her,” Smith said.

Dunn: 419-427-8417
Send an E-mail to Ryan Dunn
Twitter: @CourierRyan

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My heart goes out to all of you- The Smith Family- the Department- even the parish-or I guess in Ohio, it may be County? I just read this article while flipping through. My husband used to be a Canine officer, and I know how attached you can get to these dogs. Even my parents who lived over 60 miles away, felt the loss and they rarely saw the dog. They read the papers and would call and say, "I see Officer Seth took a bite out of crime last night." "Did you get him a treat for a job well done?" The other officers would be tired and slumped waiting for the shift to start, but as soon as Seth came in, excited and ready to go, you could see their demeanor change. It was like he was the center of attention. He brought the room to life. I am sure Becky did her part as well. All for a pat on the head. It is amazing what an animal will do for a scratch behind the ears, or a quick ruffle of the fur. Oh, RIP Becky, and if you see a Czech Shepherd named Seth, run with him. His hips no longer give him pain.

Kathy Rollo says:

Prayers for Becky,she is now getting her blue wing once over the rainbow bridge, she will always watch over her fellow pfficers

that's too bad !

Mary Hill Horton says:

RIP K9 OFFICER BECKY, thanking you for your years of service. Thought and Prayers extended to your Handler, Family, and fellow Officers. GODSPEED BEAUTIFUL, SWEET BABY <3

Im so sorry!! RIP Beckyp

Roz Abrams Smith says:

Rest in peace, beautiful girl. You deserve it…..sympathy sent to her family and the department <3

Your tour is over but you'll not be forgotten. Enjoy your new life with all your four legged friends.

Evie Sue says:

So sorry to hear of the loss of your heroic K9 Becky. Run free at the Rainbow Bridge.

Jodee Paxton says:

So sorry to hear of the loss of another wonderful dog!

I am so very sorry for your loss. She will cross the rainbow bridge and be waiting for the day she said is reunited with you.

Rest in Peace Beautiful, thank you for your service and Bless your family.

Sharon Nims says:

Sorry for ur loss.

Walt Crum says:

God Bless Becky. Tom Miller is my stepson and I know his dog even though I live in Georgia now. What a loss. Hope funds come in to replace Becky. Bless the Smith family also. Walt Crum

Connie Hile Stockdale says:

I am so sorry for the loss of one of Findlay's finest. She was such a pretty dog too.