Retiring MCSO K-9's future to be decidedPosted: Updated:
The future of a retiring Maricopa County Sheriff's Office K-9 is in the hands of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. The board is slated to vote Wednesday on a proposal to transfer ownership of Kahr, an 8-year-old Czech Shepherd, to his handler, Deputy Larry Edwards.
Edwards and Kahr have been partners since January 2014. Kahr has been with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office almost all of his life. MCSO acquired him in 2009.
Trained in apprehension and bomb detection, Kahr has performed countless sweeps at some of the city’s best-known venues for sports, concerts and special events, as well as at county courthouses. That includes sweeps inside and outside University of Phoenix Stadium for Super Bowl XLIX in 2015, as well as some of the Patriots' rooms at the hosting hotel.
“He assisted patrol with area and building searches for wanted subjects and was part of numerous SWAT team missions,” according to Maricopa County spokesmen Fields Moseley and Jason Berry.
“Deputy Edwards and Kahr have a very strong partner bond,” Mosley said in a news release. “Kahr has demonstrated that he would fight until the end if Deputy Edwards was in danger.”
While Edwards and his family will be adopting Kahr when he retires, transferring ownership requires a unanimous vote by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.
“Since Kahr was diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy earlier this year, his bond with Deputy Edwards has grown even stronger,” Moseley said. “He often follows him around, from room to room, wanting to be near him.”
Degenerative myelopathy is a progressive disease affecting the spinal cord. The first sign of degenerative myelopathy, which can appear gradually in adult dogs, is the loss of coordination in the back legs, including difficulty in running and jumping. The weakness gets worse until the dog can no longer walk.
"He's been a great dog, great partner. It's tough to see him in this condition," Edwards told our Javier Soto before Wednesday's meeting, explaining that DM is similar to ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) in humans.
“It usually takes somewhere between [six] and 12 months for full pelvic paralysis to develop in dogs with DM,” according to PetWave.com, which also explains that dogs with DM do not appear to be in pain.
Kahr is not at the point.
"He's still strong and wants to go," Edwards said. "Every day I put on the uniform, he gets up and thinks he's ready to go to work. It's great because he's in no pain. That's the great thing."
Edwards described Kahr as the "best partner I could have," and said his wife and daughter are excited to have him as a permanent member of the family
"They love him," Edwards said. "They can't wait for him to get back home."
K-9s represent a significant investment for law enforcement agencies. According to the National Police Dog Foundation, training runs between $12,000 and $15,000 per dog. That does not include the purchase of the dog itself. K-9s brought in from Europe, which is a relatively common practice, cost about $8,000 plus the care they require throughout their careers and afterward.
The Board will meet Kahr and interview Edwards after its regular meeting.
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