Nov. 19--Culpeper County Sheriff's Office celebrated the retirement of a loyal deputy earlier this month.
K-9 deputy Hyco's six-year stint as a police dog has come to an end. The dog's longtime partner, Deputy Christopher Tash, bought the dog from the county at the end of its tenure and now takes care of Hyco, who was raised in a Belgian Kennel, according to public information officer, Corey Byers.
"I'm glad I'm in a rural jurisdiction with the option to buy," Tash said of buying the nine-year-old German Shepherd. "Some larger, metro agencies will euthanize them."
Hyco specialized in sniffing out explosives, which brought the duo to incidents in Culpeper and other areas across the state.
To prospective handlers, "I always say this when I go to the academy and instruct: the best thing about being a K-9 handler is you have a dog and the worst thing about being a K-9 handler is you have a dog," said Tash. After working so well with Hyco, Tash said he doesn't plan on being a handler again.
"I don't want another dog, heck if it was up to me we'd both live forever," he said.
Some early highlights of Hyco's career include treeing a suspect who fled the scene after ramming his car in to a Virginia State Police cruiser and sweeping local schools for drugs during a 24-hour shift.
Tash explained that Hyco's presence helped in other situation as well.
"We responded to disturbance calls, parties, domestics, things of that nature," said Tash. "People's attitudes would change as soon as they heard him. He wouldn't even have to be out of the car, he would just start barking."
According to Tash, law enforcement dogs generally start losing their agility around seven or eight years old.
"He still has the drive, he's a hard-headed dog," he said of Hyco. "The hardest thing for him is to get used to just being a dog."
Tash said that the dog now has some socialization but is reluctant to trust anyone right away.
"He's not as aggressive or edgy...He's taken it a notch down, but you have to be aware that he may bite."
Note: Information for this report came from a press release by CCSO public information officer, Corey Byers.
Copyright 2011 - Culpeper Star-Exponent, Va.