CANTON, OH (WOIO) - Canton police are planning a funeral for one of their own.
Jethro, the police dog, was killed in the line of duty over the weekend. He was shot and killed by a burglary suspect.
Police shot Kelontre Barefield, 25, in the leg. He survived and is hospitalized. Barefield has been charged with aggravated burglary and assaulting a police dog.
Jethro's trainer Eric Stanbro trained the dog since he was 3 weeks old.
"I brought him from a green rookie to the dog that saves his partners life," Satnbro said.
He said Jethro wasn't just special he was exceptional, "His nose was exceptional, His drug work and tracking suspects was, too."
A gofundme account for Jethro has already raised more than $21,000. The account's creator said she would like to raise enough money to purchase new bullet-proof vests for all of the Canton PD dogs, as well as to help cover Jethro's vet bills. Any money in excess of what is needed will be used to purchase vests for other K-9 units in Stark County and/or to purchase pet-sized oxygen masks for fire departments in Stark County.
For Canton Police officer Ryan Davis, he knows the dog died so he could live. But he was clearly upset, misses his partner and is now mourning the death of his best friend.
Police chief Bruce Lawver said Davis is on paid administrative leave while he deals with Jethro's death and this is standard procedure after something so traumatic. Lawver adds Jethro was man's best friend, "but their is also no greater honor than to lay down your life for a friend. And that's what Jethro did."
The police department has been getting calls as far away as Canada, England and Germany offering their condolences.
A vigil in his honor was held Sunday outside the police station.
Jethro's funeral is set for Thursday at the Canton Civic Center at noon. Doors will open at 11 a.m.
The Canton Police Department is not actively seeking donations. However, those that wish to donate can make a check out to the Canton Police Department and write K9 donation on the memo line. Donations and condolences can be sent to the Canton Police Department at 221 3rd St. SW, Canton, OH 44702.
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