CANTON, OH (WOIO) - A memorial service for Canton Police K-9 Jethro, the first of the department's dogs ever killed in the line of duty, drew hundreds from across the country.
Jethro was shot and killed in the line of duty over the weekend. Police said he was responding to a call of a burglary on Saturday, when he was shot multiple times. He died from his injuries on Sunday.
The city held a funeral for the German Shepherd Thursday at the Canton Civic Center, on what would have been Jethro's third birthday.
Speakers included the Canton Police chief and the mayor.
"Jethro's legacy is to remind us all is that bravery and devotion can travel on four legs, and that loyalty and love can be delivered by the playful nudge of a wet nose," Mayor Thomas Bernabei said to those assembled.
K-9 officers from as far away as Virginia and the New York Police Department attended the service. More than 100 K9s from various departments walked in a five and a half minute long procession in front of those gathered.
Jethro's partner, Ryan Davis, was presented with a flag and a fallen officer medal honoring his four legged best friend. At 12:27 pm the department officially declared Jethro's end of watch.
"A lot of people love dogs obviously, and they know the dog is doing it for us and he doesn't really have a choice, so to speak, so I think people really identify with that - that a lot of people have dogs that they believe would do this for them," said Eric Stanbro, the Canton Police K9 head trainer.
Stanbro said to those who may criticize giving a memorial service for a dog, that this was the least the department could do.
"We owe it to them. I believe 100% that without Jethro, today it's Ryan's funeral and not a dog's funeral," said Stanbro.
The suspect, Kelontre D. Barefield, received a gunshot wound to the leg and was taken into custody after being treated. He is being held on $5 million bond.
"I absolutely think Jethro is a hero. The dog did his job and it's tough to take. And for that some officers went home safe," said Tim Wilmoth, a canine handler and retired police officer.
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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