The Tucumcari Police Department’s police dog, Bond, died Sunday.
“It’s sad deal,” said Police Chief Roger Hatcher. “That dog was a very good asset.”
Bond became sick earlier in the week and appeared to be getting better, but then relapsed, Hatcher said.
The cause of death of the four-year-old German Shepherd is not certain, Hatcher said.
Kidney failure is suspected, but the dog will undergo an autopsy to determine the cause of death, Hatcher said.
“After that we’ll know more,” Hatcher said.
Bond’s handler, Officer Dennis Garcia, who the dog lived with and worked with on a daily basis, said he planned to take Bond’s remains today to Albuquerque to a special diagnostic veterinarian clinic.
Garcia said Bond had a good disposition.
“I’ve got two young kids and they got along good,” said Garcia, who had served as Bond’s handler for a little more than a year.
In May Bond assisted police officers and the Quay County Sheriff’s Office in seizing of $118,902 in cash and a handgun by alerting officers that either drugs or currency was in a vehicle.
Garcia said the dog was trained to sniff out drugs and currency.
In addition to assisting the Sheriff’s Office, Bond also worked on cases with the New Mexico State Police and the New Mexico Department of Transportation, Garcia said.
“I’m going to start looking for another one,” Hatcher said. “They are a great tool.”
Depending on where a dog is trained and what it is trained for a dog can cost between $3,000 to $8,000.
Bond, who had only one name, was purchased with the help of the local Crimestoppers which raised $6,000 to buy the German Shepherd and provide training for an officer handler and the dog.
Bond’s first handler was former TPD officer Darrick Shaw who began working with the dog in April 2006.
In five months Bond had assisted in the seizure of $30,000.
Bond was certified at that time to alert to the locations of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines.
In an alert, Bond scratched furiously to indicate he had smelled drugs.
A police dog is very labor intensive for the handler and the handler should receive more money per hour, Hatcher said.
The officer has to work with the dog and train dog, as well as taking care of the dog’s daily needs, Hatcher said.
On Monday, at Crimestoppers next meeting, Hatcher said he planned to talk to the group about assisting the department to get another dog.
Crimesstoppers will meet at noon at the PowWow Restaurant.