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Hero Down: Scotts Valley PD K9 Atlas Dies From Complications Of Smoke Inhalation

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.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Scotts Valley Police Department and Sgt. Polito in the loss of K9 Atlas.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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