Police dog euthanized after cancer recurs
Jim McLain; Staff writer
(VENTURA COUNTY, Calif.) -- A long-serving Sheriff's Department police dog was euthanized Friday, just two days after its return to duty.
Bar (pronounced "bear"), a longhaired male German shepherd and a police dog for more than five years, had a recurrence of cancer that spread to his liver and caused internal bleeding, said Ronald Dalzell, a Ventura veterinarian who cares for many police dogs. The cancer was found in January in the dog's spleen, which was removed.
"This time it was in something we couldn't remove," Dalzell said. "We had reached the point where going further would not be fair to Bar."
Bar, teamed with Deputy Harold Orr throughout his career, had served longer than almost any other Sheriff's Department dog, said Capt. Bob LeMay, in charge of the agency's canine program. Bar would have turned 8 in March.
Bar had worked throughout the county, most recently in Thousand Oaks and Fillmore, and was to begin a Camarillo assignment on Sunday.
The dog had emergency surgery when the cancer was discovered Jan. 7. He was expected to live only a few months, because the cancer had invaded his bloodstream. Still, he recovered so well from the surgery that Dalzell agreed only Wednesday that he could return to work.
"Bar would rather work -- it's play to him -- than just sit around the house," Orr said earlier this week. "I'm going to let him enjoy as much as he can until he tells me it's time to hang it up."
Children throughout Ventura County knew Bar, Dalzell said, because he and Orr often demonstrated their work at schools.
Over the years, Bar helped to search for and find numerous suspected criminals and many narcotics stashes.
"Bar will be missed by all who served with him and were served by him," Sheriff Bob Brooks said in a prepared statement Friday.
Several deputies, including two police dog teams, came to Dalzell's veterinary hospital before the dog was euthanized to say goodbye.
"It was really quite a touching moment -- the support that was there from his friends," Dalzell said.
-- Jim McLain's e-mail address is email@example.com. GRAPHIC: Staff photo by Juan CarloFATAL ILLNESS: Bar, a Sheriff's Department police dog that was euthanizedon Friday, is shown waiting for a checkup last month at Anacapa AnimalHospital.
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