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In South Carolina, Another Police Dog Dies While Trying to Help Cops Catch a Criminal


COLUMBIA, S.C. — This is the second time this month that a police dog in South Carolina has died while trying to help catch a criminal.

While chasing a suspect who ran across I-77 early Thursday morning, Wick, a dog from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, was hit and killed by a car. His leash broke, and he was hit by the car.

The suspect was being chased by deputies after they saw him driving a stolen car. Lott said that he ran after police used stop sticks to flatten his tires.

When Wick jumped over a fence, his leash came apart. Lott said Thursday afternoon that he had never heard of this happening to a police dog.

The sheriff said that police are still looking for the suspect.

Wick was a Belgian Malinois who was 3 years old and had been a deputy for more than a year.

When Wick’s body was taken from an emergency vet to a funeral home Thursday morning, it was wrapped in an American flag, and many police officers had their dogs sit next to them. They saluted as they went.

At least six states, including South Carolina, have bills in their legislatures this year that would make it harder to hurt or kill a police dog. However, opponents of the plans point out that police dogs have been used for harassment in marginalized communities and have caused serious injuries during arrests.

Wick died just nine days after Coba, a police dog from the State Law Enforcement Division, was shot and killed while officers were trying to catch a person wanted for breaking into a home in Newberry County.

Police then shot and hurt the suspect, according to the officials.

A service to remember Coba was given by state agents on Wednesday.

Investigators say that another dog, Rico, was shot and killed on Johns Island in September by a person who was hidden and was wanted for randomly shooting at people and police officers the day before.

Police dogs become part of the families of their trainers and the police force as a whole. “Their willingness to risk their lives so human officers can avoid threats is truly admirable,” said State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel on Wednesday, as he spoke about Coba. “Their voice broke with emotion several times.”

“These K-9s are brave.” And as police officers, we train them and put them in very dangerous scenarios. Keel said, “We put them in dark rooms and homes where we know people are hiding.”

As the service started, bagpipes were played. Gov. Henry McMaster was there to show his respects, just like he was at Rico’s service last October.

As soft music played, pictures of Coba were shown on a screen. There were pictures of the dog in a shopping cart, selfies with his handler agent Cole Powell, training pictures of him attacking a heavily padded suspect, and a final picture of Powell on his knees with his arm resting gently on Coba’s body while an American flag was draped over him.

Powell said he was grateful for what Coba did and that he would always remember the dog.

Lt. Keith Thrower, who is in charge of the state agency’s dog tracking team, said Wednesday that police dogs become an important part of a police team.

Thrower said, “When he walked into that house, Coba put himself between us and evil.” “Evil lost that day because Coba was there to watch out for his team.”

Source: AP

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