FARMINGTON, Utah — Utah lost one of the state’s best law enforcement K-9s over the weekend.
K-9 "Rony" dedicated his life to serving Davis County and protecting his handler Deputy Brad Larsen.
“The goodest of good boys,” said Deputy Larsen.
Rony passed away unexpectedly on Independence Day after taking several weeks off to heal a spinal cord injury. Deputy Larsen believes it’s unlikely the two are related.
Rony is credited with helping capture over 50 violent fugitives and sniffing out hundreds of pounds of narcotics.
“We went on calls to Tooele County. We’ve been to Summit County, We were up in Morgan. We’ve been to Weber a lot. We’ve been to Box Elder. He was a very well-used resource. He was well known for his work ethic and what he could do.”
Earlier this year, Rony beat out dogs across the country to be awarded champion of “America’s Top Dog” on cable network A&E.
Rony’s playful personality and trademark “doggles” earned him 23,000 fans on Instagram.
“As to what made him so lovable or famous, I couldn’t even tell you. He had goofy looks he’d give people, one of his ears wouldn’t stand up straight. He’s just a big goofball,” said Deputy Larsen.
However, what he did on the streets that earned him a solid reputation. He trained and worked alongside the state’s most elite law enforcement teams, from FBI SWAT to the U.S. Marshals' Violent Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team.
“K-9 Rony is just irreplaceable. It was a hard loss and it is going to be even harder shoes to fill,” said Deputy Dennis Lizotte, who trained with K-9 Rony.
Rony’s death isn’t the only one felt by the Davis County Sheriff’s Department within the last year.
Last Monday, retired Lt. Jason Sorensen died from injuries and burns from a plane crash in Davis County.
Deputy Larsen said he was blessed share Rony with the country and even more thankful to be his partner.
“With him being as great as he was and doing his job how he did, he allowed me to go home safe every single day. He was able to help other officers do the same to go to their families,” said Larsen.
Memorial services are still being planned.