The American Kennel Club announces the launch of its newest award, the “AKC Paw of Courage,” in an effort to show appreciation for the many sacrifices that working dogs make while serving and protecting our country. This award specifically recognizes the extraordinary sacrifices of dogs who have been severely injured or killed in the line of duty.
Any working dog is eligible to receive the “AKC Paw of Courage;” the award is not specific to purebred dogs. Recipients of the award, or their former human partner, will receive a 2016 AKC Paw of Courage medal along with a certificate. In addition, the recipients will receive a photo and profile on akc.org.
The first recipients are:
--K9 Officer Ogar: of Smith County Constable’s Office – Precinct 5, Texas: K9 Ogar, a one-year-old Belgian Malinois of Smith County Constable’s Office in Texas, was shot and killed while attempting an apprehension this past January. K9 Ogar and his handler, Deputy Constable Kevin Petty, were conducting a routine traffic stop when a vehicle fled, leading to a pursuit. The vehicle was wrecked and the subject evaded on foot into a wooded area, and K9 Ogar was deployed. During this confrontation, K9 Ogar was shot and killed. Deputy Constable Petty says, “Ogar sacrificed his life to save mine.” He says that Ogar was always right by his side and looked at him with true love and devotion.
--K9 Officer Jag: of Twin Rivers Unified School District Police Dept., Calif: K9 Jag was an eight-year-old Belgian Malinois who served with the Twin Rivers Unified School District Police Department for five years. During his annual state certification, he was struck by a vehicle. “K9 Jag was everything a handler and a school Police Department could want. He knew his job and did it well,” says his partner, Sergeant Arlin Kocher. He describes Jag as intense, energetic, sweet and powerful. K9 Jag was the first ever Twin Rivers Unified School District Police Department’s canine. He excelled in every aspect of his career; credited with hundreds of narcotics searches, over 50 suspect surrenders and three apprehensions throughout his time in the department.
--K9 Officer Betcha: of Rutland County Sheriff’s Office, Vt.: K9 Betcha was a two-year-old Australian Cattle Dog who served as a narcotics/tracking K9 at the Rutland County Sheriff’s Office in Vermont. He was with the Sheriff’s Office for about a year when he was struck and killed by a vehicle while in the line of duty. “He was my fourth K9 partner but my first dog that I can say was my therapy,” says his handler, Deputy Sheriff Edward Hunter of Betcha. Deputy Sheriff Hunter has been in police work for 35 years and says that K9 Betcha truly helped him cope with his past and present in the job.
--K9 Officer Krijger: of Norfolk Police Department, Va.: K9 Kirjger, a four-year-old Belgian Malinois of the Norfolk Police Department in Virginia was shot and killed following a violent barricade situation this past January. Police were responding to a domestic violence call when the man barricaded himself inside his home with his wife as a hostage. After several hours, the man exited the home opening fire on the officers, fatally wounding Krijger.