As police in Canton, Ohio, entered a grocery store early Saturday in response to a burglary alarm activation call, a suspect opened fire.
The only officer shot was Jethro, a 3-year-old German Shepherd who was hit by four rounds. The suspect was shot in the leg and taken into custody.
Jethro was rushed to the Stark County Veterinary Emergency Clinic.
“Jethro is still resting,” the Canton Police Department wrote on its Facebook page this morning. “Three rounds struck him but none struck vital organs and did not require surgery. He did take a round to the bridge of the nose but it did not penetrate. However, it did cause some brain trauma.”
Jethro’s partner, Officer Ryan Davis, never left the K9’s side.
According to a Canton Police K9 Association Facebook post last night, Jethro was a “bullheaded badass tough guy. He is fighting the good fight.”
Tragically, it was a fight the hero dog could not win.
“It is with heavy hearts that we must tell you all that we lost Jethro,” the police department wrote on its Facebook page today. “He took a sudden turn for the worse and has passed.”
A touching video posted this afternoon on Canton Police K9 Association Facebook page shows officers saluting as Jethro’s body is removed from the clinic.
“We at the Canton Police Department want to thank all of you for your support over the last couple of days,” the department wrote on Facebook. “Your prayers and well wishes have meant so much.”
Beth Philley of the blog doggies.com launched the Canton K-9 Jethro Vet & Vest Fund GoFundMe campaign to raise money for bulletproof K9 vests. As of late Sunday afternoon, more than $19,000 has been donated.
“In visiting with several officers at the emergency clinic today, I was told that the bulletproof vests in Canton are very old, very heavy and very rarely used,” Philley wrote.
As for Jethro’s unidentified shooter, “Although there are federal statutes that specify harsh sentences for killing a federally employed K9, the rules here in Ohio are pretty weak,” Philley wrote on her blog. Killing a police dog is considered a third-degree felony, and can result in a prison sentence of up to five years and a maximum $5,000 fine.
“Not nearly enough,” Philley wrote, and I’m sure a lot of us agree.
Donations in Jethro’s memory may be sent to:
Canton Police Department
Attn: K9 Unit
221 3rd St SW
Canton OH 44702
Liberty Tactical Equipment, a clothing store in Wooster, Ohio, announced it is printing $20 T-shirts in honor of Jethro. All of the proceeds will go to the Canton Police K9 Association.
Rest in peace, K9 Officer Jethro.