GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Greenville police officers are mourning the sudden loss of one of their K9 officers.
Pepper, a Belgian Malinois, died after a snake bite last week, according to the police department.
Pepper’s handler discovered what looked like a snake bite after a training session in a wooded area. The K9 was given immediate care by a veterinarian.
Greenville police officer Bobby Parker is the longtime handler of Pepper and said he didn’t know the K9 was suffering from the snake bite because of his breed.
“With something like a snake bite or an injury these dogs don’t whimper, and these dogs don’t let you know that they’re hurt especially a dog like pepper,” Parker said. “Without having any signs like that and of course a snake bite in the beginning doesn’t show any signs because the dogs have fur on them. With a human you’d see something right away.”
Police do not know what type of venomous snake bit Pepper, but they suspect it was a copperhead.
He became a K9 officer three years ago after a donation from Diane Kulik, a member of their Police Community Relations Board. The dog was trained in both drug detection and tracking/apprehension.
Kulik wanted to do something in memory of her husband, which is why she donated and requested Parker to be Pepper’s handler despite him having a dog already.
“He has one that’s a bomb dog, so he doesn’t take that one out as often and he was ready to try a new challenge,” Kulik said. “I do hope that he will get another dog. I think he will because he’s incredible at training these dogs and working in the field.”
“Pepper may have been small in stature but he was a feisty guy,” the police department said.
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