RSO, community reeling after death of second K-9 in 9 days

RIVERSIDE COUNTY — Sheriff’s officials and dog-lovers throughout Riverside County and beyond are reeling after the death of a second Riverside County Sheriff’s K-9 in just over a week.

Sheriff’s K-9 “Windy” – who was officially retired July 12, less than two weeks before she passed away – lost her battle with a long-term illness and succumbed to her illness July 25, according to sheriff’s officials.

Just nine days later, Sheriff’s K-9 “Jax” suffered a series of “cluster seizures” and was rushed to California Veterinarian Specialists (CVS) veterinary clinic in Murrieta for treatment. “Despite their best efforts, Jax’s condition deteriorated and he passed away” Saturday night, Aug. 3. His unexpected death came just one month before he was scheduled to be retired from active duty, according to officials.

Prior to their passing, Windy served the Sheriff’s Department for five years as a “human-tracking bloodhound,” while Jax was a detection canine and spent six years working in the Corrections Division of the Sheriff’s Department.

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“Her career, like her personality, was nothing short of stellar.”

During her time serving the Sheriff’s Department and her community, Windy “trailed countless miles throughout Riverside County in search of missing persons, lost hikers, and fleeing felons,” according to officials.

“With fifty documented finds and numerous investigative leads located, Windy had developed a reputation throughout the Inland Empire and surrounding law enforcement agencies as an excellent working dog for locating those who are missing and those who are hiding,” explained officials. “Her career, like her personality, was nothing short of stellar.”

After her passing, officials reported that although Windy had just been retired from active service due to her lengthy battle with an unspecified illness, “Thanks to an overwhelming amount of support from our community, Windy was able to receive the top-notch medical care that she deserved.”

“Windy was well cared for by Doctor Prior and her amazing team at California Veterinarian Specialists in Murrieta,” sheriff’s officials said after her death. “Despite their best efforts, Windy’s illness overcame her medication and her symptoms returned stronger than ever.”

Known as the “Handsomest Dog in the County,”
Jax loved going to work “for his prized squeaky ball.”

Jax was a detection canine that worked within the Corrections Division of the Sheriff’s Department.

“Jax visited all five county Correctional Facilities on a weekly basis where he was beloved by staff members … and spent his shifts searching for narcotics, cell-phones, and alcohol,” officials explained. 

“He had developed a reputation throughout the county for his knack at locating contraband within our facilities, but also as the “Handsomest Dog in the County,” continued officials.”Inmates at our facilities knew when Jax arrived,” when his loud, bellowing bark echoed throughout the facilities.

“Jax enjoyed his work and it showed,” said officials. “He was getting ready to retire in September on his 8th birthday.”

Then, last Saturday, Aug. 3, just nine days after Windy’s tragic passing, K-9 Jax began to suffer from a series of cluster seizures. His handler rushed his companion to CVS, “where he received the best medical care from the amazing doctors and staff,” officials later explained.

“Despite their best efforts, Jax’s condition deteriorated and he passed away Saturday night,” said officials.

“The outpouring of support has been overwhelming.”

In the days since the two tragic and unexpected deaths, officials have said “the outpouring of support has been overwhelming.” The community’s love and support has been a comfort to the Sheriff’s K-9 Team and both dogs’  handlers during these difficult times, officials explained.

“Canines are an asset to not only a department, but to the public and the communities they serve as well,” officials continued. “A service dog for a law enforcement agency is, at the end of the day, a tool that the department retains for keeping officers safe.”

“It is easy to forget sometimes that the service dog and handler spend more time together than the handler’s family and the bond they develop is unbreakable … and cannot be put into words easily.”

“Every stressful situation (their handlers) entered,” Windy and Jax went into first. They both faced the same dangers their handlers did, to ultimately keep their human partners and other officials safe, officials continued.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Windy’s handler and her family … (and) to Jax’s handler and his family” during their time of mourning, officials expressed after the two, back-to-back deaths.

“We would like to think that Windy was so good at what she did that she was needed elsewhere to find the lost or the missing. We are sure that K-9 Jax and K-9 Windy are spending some time together now that they are both without pain and free to roam where they please.”

Click any image to open full-size gallery.

RSO photos of K-9 “Windy”

RSO photos of K-9 “Jax”


Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he currently writes for or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, the (now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.

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