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Tag: coatesville

Police dog dies after illustrious career

0215_ricky2_410A Pennsylvania community is mourning the loss of Ricky, an 11-year-old German shepherd with an outstanding temperament and an even more impressive resume.

Among his accomplishments, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported:

Helping protect two presidents; assisting at ground zero after 9/11; apprehending numerous criminals; checking hundreds of potential bomb sites, four of which contained live material; locating two missing children, one of whom was autistic; and interacting with thousands of elementary-school students.

Ricky, who belonged to West Caln Township Police Chief Curt A. Martinez , began his career when he was less than a year old at the Coatesville Area School District, where Martinez worked at the time as a school district security officer.

In May 2002, a budget crisis led the district to put Ricky on the auction block, a decision that provoked public outrage and led to Ricky’s appearance in People magazine. The ensuing publicity helped raise the  $4,000 needed for Martinez to buy Ricky.

When Martinez went to work in the West Caln police deparment in Chester County, he took Ricky went with him. Martinez has led the West Caln force for three years.

Martinez said Ricky began barking incessantly last week. After visits to the veterinarian and the animal hospital, Martinez learned the dog had a softball-size tumor in his spleen.

“He was clearly in pain,” Martinez said today. “We had to put him down.

“Everyone in the township is taking it pretty hard,” Martinez added. “It’s a loss to the community, too; he was a great police dog.”

A memorial service will be planned, but Martinez has not worked out the details.