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K-9 officer Argo struck and killed by lightning

Panama City Beach Police Department logo
Panama City Beach Police Department logo
Image by Panama City Beach Police Department

The Panama City Beach Police Department in Florida lost one of the K-9 officers, most likely due to being hit by lightning on Sunday night, according to ABC News on Tuesday. The dog, named Argo, was found lifeless in his kennel on Sunday evening at approximately 6:30 p.m.. Argo’s kennel was placed in the back yard of a home on Firenzo Avenue. It is believed that the dog was hit by lightning while in the kennel as a thunderstorm passed through Bay County.

Panama City Beach Police stated that it definitely appears as though Argo was struck by lightning prior to the dog being found by the longtime handler of the K-9’s daughter. The longtime handler of the K-9 officer, Argo, was Panama City Beach Police Department Cpl. Jason Gleason. Officer Gleason declined to make any comments about the incident, according to The News Herald. Panama City Beach Police Department’s Police Chief Drew Whitman simply said that Officer Gleason is still having a hard time over the unfortunate incident.

The report asserts that Argo is a Belgian Malinois which is quite similar to a German shepherd. The dog had been left in the kennel behind the home during the passing thunderstorm because Gleason was going to a training session. The incident report states that Argo had most of his hair missing from his right front leg, just above the paw. It is strongly believed that the missing hair was singed from a lightning strike.

Argo became Gleason’s K-9 partner five years ago. In July of 2009, Gleason’s former K-9 partner went missing. That dog – named Poncho – was also a Belgian Malinois was tracking three burglary suspects when it went missing. That missing K-9 officer incident happened in woods near Arnold High School. The three suspects that Poncho was chasing were arrested at a later time, but Poncho never came out of the woods. Following that incident, Poncho was presumed to be deceased. Following that apparently dead incident, part of Frank Brown Park was dedicated to Poncho. A fenced area behind a flagpole is now named Poncho’s Park.