Deputy Aaron Poynter of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office and his police dog, K-9 Kane, developed a strong bond.
When Kane rode with Poynter during patrols, the deputy said it was “like having a buddy with you.”
Kane’s sudden death under suspicious circumstances April 27 devastated Poynter.
“It absolutely rocked me, it was such a shock and I was just dumbfounded,” Poynter said Thursday afternoon after a memorial service for Kane. “It’s a lonely ride now.”
Local law enforcement officers gathered to honor their fallen colleague, holding a memorial service for Kane at the Warren County Courthouse.
Poynter was presented with a commemorative paw print donated by All Creatures Animal Hospital.
A monument to Kane, which Warren County Coroner Kevin Kirby donated, has been placed in the courtyard outside the courthouse.
“He was a great dog whose life ended too soon,” Warren County Sheriff Jerry “Peanuts” Gaines said at the ceremony. “He was one of the better dogs we’ve had and we’re going to miss him.”
American Legion Post 23 Commander Malcolm Cherry played taps and dispatch supervisor Candy Hood conducted the ceremonial final radio call for K-9.
A German shepherd, Kane was almost 3 when Poynter found the dog unresponsive at home.
Kane was rushed to All Creatures Animal Hospital for emergency medical care but could not be revived.
Sgt. Curtis Hargett of the sheriff’s office commended Dr. Marcus Wisdom and the staff at All Creatures for their efforts to care for Kane and their continued work with the sheriff’s office.
“I know (Wisdom) did not get any sleep that night,” Hargett said. “He stayed at the clinic to make sure all actions were taken to find any and all possible answers.”
Hargett previously served as a K-9 handler for the sheriff’s office, partnering with K-9 Gunner for seven years until Gunner’s retirement last year.
During his remarks at the memorial service, Hargett called Kane a “vital part of the sheriff’s office.”
“He was called upon to always go first when searching for dangerous individuals,” Hargett said.
The bond between an officer and police dog is hard to articulate, Hargett said, but it is cemented through hours of training and patrols.
“A K-9 wants only one thing – to be by their handler’s side and protect them,” Hargett said.
Poynter joined the sheriff’s office in 2015 with ambitions of becoming a K-9 handler.
On their first patrol shift together, Kane sniffed out illegal drugs during a traffic stop, Poynter said.
“When he did what he was supposed to do, that was the greatest thing to me,” Poynter said. “There’s no way to replace him at all, Kane really was one of a kind for sure.”
Kane’s death remains under investigation.
While no official cause of death has been released, a necropsy confirmed that foul play contributed to his death.
Law enforcement has not identified a suspect.