The Niagara County Sheriff's Office is mourning the loss of one of its K9 officers.
The Sheriff says canine handler Deputy Richard Bull found his K9 Officer EJ unresponsive in his kennel on Friday.
They believe K9 EJ may have passed away from a medical condition known as gastric torsion of the stomach, but the office is going to complete a necropsy to determine the exact cause of death.
The Sheriff's Office says K9 EJ was born in September 2015 in Hungary and came to the Niagara County Sheriff's Office in March of last year. The Office was able to purchase K9 EJ using community donations to the Niagara County Law Enforcement Foundation.
"The Community has always been great supporters of our Canine Division as well as the Niagara County Sheriff's Office," said Sheriff James Voutour.
K9 EJ and his partner, Deputy Bull, were New York State certified in criminal apprehension, area searches, building searches, muzzle deployment, tactical high-risk deployment, tracking and advanced narcotics detection.
During their career as a canine team, Deputy Bull and K9 EJ were responsible for several successful tracks, the recovery of numerous pieces of evidence and discovery of illegal narcotics. They also conducted several demonstrations at various events throughout Niagara County, including Lockport Blue, D.A.R.E., Young Marines and the Niagara County Fair.
Sheriff Voutour states, "While K9 EJ's tenure with the Niagara County Sheriff's Office was short, he undoubtedly will be remembered for his hard work, loyal friendship to Deputy Bull and service to Niagara County."
K9 EJ was named after LCpl. Eric James Orlowski, a United States Marine, fellow Marine and friend of Deputy Bull, who was killed in action on March 22, 2003 during Operation Enduring Freedom in Iraq.