An award winning Port Elizabeth police dog – who has assisted in the fight against rhino poaching and helped arrest more than 400 criminals – has died.
Bruno, an eight-year-old Rottweiler, was euthanized on Friday after losing his battle with cancer.
Bruno was diagnosed about two years ago but after receiving treatment, he was still able to continue with active duties until last month.
Devastated handler Sergeant Shaun Dicks, 37, who had been working with Bruno for six years, said putting Bruno to sleep was one the hardest things he had ever had to do.
Dicks said: “I knew it had to be done. The tests confirmed that the cancer had returned and he was taken off duty to rest and spend his final moments at home.”
On Wednesday, Bruno’s condition deteriorated and on Friday a decision was made to euthanise him.
Dicks, who Bruno lived with, described him as a crime fighting machine who loved jumping out of helicopters and chasing criminals.
Bruno was a trained patrol and explosive detection dog used to apprehend fleeing criminals as well as sniffing out any explosive type item, including guns and ammunition.
During Bruno’s six year career at the Port Elizabeth K9 unit he assisted Dicks with several arrests including catching hijackers, robbers, gangsters and burglars.
Dicks said Bruno had been by his side during hundreds of arrests, estimating that together the team had caught about 400 suspected criminals. over the past six years.
The team’s success led to them winning the Annual Tracker Individual Award for recovering 50 hijacked and stolen vehicles between July 2016 and July 2017.
In addition to this, the team arrested 98 suspects – mostly linked to vehicle theft or hijackings.
Just two weeks ago, Bruno assisted with the recovery of a hijacked vehicle in New Brighton.
“We were at the vet getting his stitches out of his leg when I got information of the hijacking.
“I put him in the police car and together we went off, finding the car abandoned a short while later,” Dicks said.
“Bruno was feared by criminals and he was dedicated to fighting crime. His tail would go crazy with excitement every time we had to go to work – he simply loved it.
“Even more so, he loved flying in the police helicopter.”