Orleans County, Vermont, police are remembering a member of its family who was killed Sunday in an accident. K-9 Kilo, a 9-month-old German shepherd, died after darting into traffic while off-duty, the Newport-based department announced Sunday.
“He was a great dog,” Kilo’s handler, Deputy Tyler Jacobs, told New England Cable News Monday. “He was full of energy and full of life, and was a very, very intelligent dog.”
Jacobs, who described Kilo as a friend, work partner, and pet, said Kilo drew high marks from trainers at the Vermont Police Academy. “I think he was destined to be one of the greatest [police dogs] in the state of Vermont. I really do,” Jacobs said.
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Kilo was still part of the Vermont Police Academy’s drug detection training program, when, off-duty and back home with Jacobs, he ran away from his handler when something caught his attention, the department said. A vehicle hit and struck Kilo on Rt. 105 in Derby, the department said.
“He was one of us,” Jacobs said, showing NECN how he was wearing Kilo's badge Monday, with a black band over it.
People from across Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, the state, region, and beyond have been expressing their sympathies on the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department’s Facebook page.
One comment, written by Faye Morin, read, “My thoughts and prayer[s] are with you all! R.I.P. little buddy; I will miss you.”
Another remark, written by Jenn Powers, said, “I'm in tears. Rest in peace, sweet boy. I'm so sorry, Tyler.”
Chief Deputy Phil Brooks of the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department told NECN this is no one’s fault: not the driver’s, not the handler’s. “It was an accident,” Brooks said. “It was a tragic accident. It just happened so fast.”
Brooks reiterated that with a puppy less than a year old, even though the animal was undergoing training, the training was not complete. He explained Kilo just ran for something he saw across the street, as puppies often do.
“The dog was still in the training phase,” Brooks added. “Part of a police dog's training is training without a leash.”
Brooks said the Orleans County Sheriff's Department’s K-9 program will continue with a new dog, but so soon after losing Kilo, it's hard to say when.
“It’s no different than anyone else's dog or cat or pet that gets hit by a vehicle. It happens every day,” Brooks said. “It just happened to be that this one was a pretty special dog. Not just to Deputy Jacobs, but to the department, the community, and the citizens of the county. He'll be missed.”