A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) search-and-rescue-trained canine working with its law enforcement officers perished on duty during an active investigation while searching for a missing woman. FWC reported the police canine, Gus, ingested a "foreign object" while sniffing out a scent of the person being sought. Tracking along a route, Gus somehow inhaled a deadly object into its lungs, dying a few hours later.
The active search-and-rescue operation was being conducted in the Hillsborough River State Park. Gus and his handler from the FWC were tracking among trails and woodland in the state park, located several miles east of Tampa, Fla.
The body of the woman being sought was eventually located.
Albeit met with sad news pertaining to Gus, his mission and duty were fulfilled; Gus' keen senses and tracking abilities did lead law enforcement officials to the woman's body. Despite the misfortunes surrounding this case, Gus' final duty was not in vain.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recognizes the steadfast and duty-bound diligence of Gus. Each police canine is, by statute, a sworn law enforcement officer and afforded the same honor and respects when succumbing to line-of-duty sacrifices.
When construction is completed and it is unveiled, Gus will be recorded in the annals of the forthcoming National Law Enforcement Animals Memorial slated to be constructed in Washington, D.C.
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