Scotts Valley, CA – Scotts Valley Police Department (SVPD) K9 Atlas died in the line of duty on Aug. 21, due to complications of smoke inhalation he suffered while responding working in the area of the massive CZU Lightening Complex Fire.
The SVPD announced the six-year-old Sable Shepherd’s death “with a heavy heart and tear-filled eyes” in a Facebook post later in the day.
K9 Atlas’ human partner, SVPD Sergeant Brandon Polito, rushed him to an emergency vet, “where they were able to make [K9 Atlas] comfortable and ease his struggle,” the department said.
“However, it was determined that he would be unable to recover,” the post read. “Atlas drifted off to sleep in Sgt. Polito’s arms one last time.”
The SVPD said that the beloved K9 had been struggling with “ongoing medical issues.”
“The stress of him being evacuated 2 times to new environments along with difficulty breathing in the smoke and poor air proved to be too much,” according to the department.
K9 Atlas joined the SVPD in October of 2014, and served alongside Sgt. Polito as a patrol and narcotics detection K9 for his entire career.
“I have never had a dog that is as intuitive as he is,” the sergeant told the Press Banner at the time.
The SVPD held a police processional and memorial service for K9 Atlas on Sept. 23, the Scotts Valley Police Officer’s Association said in a Facebook post.
Scotts Valley Police Department, along with other local agencies, partake in a procession along Scotts Valley Drive while on their way to a memorial service for fallen police dog K9 Atlas at Scotts Valley Multiversity, Wednesday, Sept 23, 2020. pic.twitter.com/hII2GVKcsZ
— Jaden Schaul (@jadenschaul) September 24, 2020
— ODMP.org (@ODMP) September 11, 2020
🇺🇸 Rest In Peace 🐾
Scotts Valley Police Department California
K-9 Atlas died from complications of smoke inhalation during the CZU Lightning Complex #Wildfire
— East Coast Alert ⚠️ (@EastCoastAlert) September 11, 2020
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Scotts Valley Police Department and Sgt. Polito in the loss of K9 Atlas.