Officer Ryan Davis and his K-9 partner, Jethro – who was killed in the line of duty – were honored by the Boardwalk Kennel Club of Cape May County and the American Kennel Club at the Wildwood Convention Center on April 2.
K-9 Jethro was shot and killed while responding to a robbery earlier this year in Canton, Ohio. Officer Davis received a Medal of Valor award on Jethro’s behalf. His new K-9 partner, Tuko, also attended the event, which took place against the backdrop of the Boardwalk Kennel Club’s All-Breed Dog Show.
The medal is given out when a K-9 is killed in the line of duty and the award is open to dogs from around the country.
When asked what it meant to be receiving the award for Jethro, Officer Davis answered:
“Bittersweet. It is an honor that I’d rather not have. I would rather have him here with us today. But we want to celebrate his service, dedication and everything that he meant to us as an officer, friend and family member.”
In addition to the ceremony remembering Jethro, six other K-9 officers were honored with Outstanding Service awards, including:
- K-9 REX of the Washington Township Police Department, NJ, handled by Officer Jason Sims; retired in December 2015
- K-9 ARON of the Deptford Township Police Department, NJ, handled by Officer Adam Ziegler; retired in 2013 and passed away in October 2015
- K-9 AXEL of the Washington Township Police Department, NJ, handled by Officer Jeffrey Kalber; retired in January 2015
- K-9 BEN of the Salem County Sherriff’s Office, NJ, handled by Sargent Rob Hans, retired in February 2015 and passed away shortly thereafter
- K-9 BENTO of the Glassboro Police Department, NJ, handled by Sargent Ryan Knight, retired in July 2015 and passed away August 2015
- K-9 BRIX of the Washington Township Police Department, NJ, handled by Officer Kevin Convery, retired in November 2015
The Outstanding Service awards are awarded based on merit. Susan Shomo, Boardwalk Kennel Club of Cape May County president explained:
“We take a look at K-9s service records, arrests, searches and all kinds of information when choosing Outstanding Service award winners. They are so deserving of any praise that they receive, both the handlers and the K-9s, we are just so thankful for everything that they do.”
Watch the video of Officer Davis receiving Jethro’s Medal of Valor below:
At Saturday’s show, Tuko, retired Outstanding Service recipients as well as K-9s who performed in a police demonstration for the crowd all received beds donated by Big Barker–a Philadelphia-based company specializing in American-made orthopedic beds designed to alleviate joint-pain and improve the quality of life for larger dogs.
“We’re thrilled to be involved with this event, and to be able to provide beds for these incredibly hard-working dogs,” said Eric Shannon, Big Barker owner. “Police K-9s are generally larger dogs carrying a high risk of ailments including hip dysplasia, arthritis and general joint pain. We want all dogs to have access to a bed that allows them to rest comfortably and lead healthy, happy lives.”
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