Houston, TX – Houston Police Department K9 Rony died in the line of duty on Wednesday, after he shattered his elbow while pursuing a suspect, police said.
Despite the multiple breaks in his leg, K9 Rony, a 9-year-old Belgian Malinois, tried to continue the pursuit, Dr. Laura Ron told KTRK.
“Thanks to Rony and his last act, we flushed [the suspect] out,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said during a Wednesday press conference. “This dog is probably our best dog.”
The fatal encounter began at approximately 1:00 a.m., when officers attempted to stop a stolen vehicle, Chief Acevedo said.
A vehicle pursuit ensued, and the suspect threw what police believed were drugs or a gun out of the window of his vehicle.
The suspect also slammed his vehicle into a patrol car, the chief said.
The man ultimately fled from the stolen vehicle on foot, and K9 Rony pursued him into a heavily wooded area, where Chief Acevedo said the K9 became hung-up on a log or wooden object.
"Essentially, what happened was, his elbow shattered so there were breaks in multiple different places," Dr. Ron explained. “Even though his right arm wasn't even working, he was still trying to get himself back up to try to go chase the suspect again.”
K9 Rony also had arthritis in his other three legs from previous injuries, she said. The vet and the officers agreed that the most humane option was euthanization.
"Amputating his leg would not be fair because that puts a lot more weight on his remaining legs that would make them fail, and they're already on a lot of medications so even though it was the most horrendous of options, it was the most fair for the dog," said Dr. Ron.
"As you can imagine the handler is very attached to this dog,” Chief Acevedo said. “It was tough to watch him say goodbye to his canine partner, but the dog went out the way, as he said, ‘the way he'd want to go out,’ which is capturing a suspect.”
During his seven-year career with the HPD, K9 Rony made 250 captures, and was primarily on nightly K9 patrol, KPRC reported.
He also worked on explosive detection.
According to KPRC, his handler once noted that K9 Rony was all about business on the job, but that he liked to lie in the sun and go swimming when he was off duty.
The HPD will hold a memorial for K9 Rony early next week, KTRK reported.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Houston Police Department in the loss of K9 Rony.