HERRIMAN, Utah — The death of K-9 Officer Hondo hit the Herriman Police Department hard Friday.
Residents visit a growing memorial outside City Hall honoring the accomplished canine and his handler.
“I think it’s important to remember that sacrifice and honor it,” said Kevin Allred.
While helping capture a wanted fugitive in Salt Lake City, Hondo was shot in the sternum. He died at a nearby veterinary hospital.
“These animals are way more than pets. They become a member of the K-9 handler’s family,” Lt. Cody Stromberg said.
The Belgian Malinois worked alongside Sgt. Ben Ricks for around five years. Together, they made more than 100 felony arrests and seized hundreds of pounds of drugs.
“Hondo and Sgt. Ricks clearly one of the best K9 teams in the state, if not the country,” Lt. Stromberg said.
Friday afternoon, a half dozen therapy dogs volunteered to help the grieving police department. Some dogs even licked the tears off the faces of police employees.
“I just knew they needed love. They needed comfort,” said Audra Armstrong with The Go Team Therapy Dogs Utah. "Just losing them is devastating, so I knew we needed to give some love,” Armstrong said.
In time, the police department plans to get another dog.
The dog toys, food and blankets left at the Hondo memorial will be donated to a local animal shelter.
Funeral services have not been planned.