Laslo, the former police dog that apprehended more than 480 suspects in four years as a Spokane County Sheriff’s Office K-9, died early Friday morning after months battling intense seizures. He stopped working in early 2017 at the age of 7.
Detective Jeff Thurman, who elected to keep Laslo as a family pet after being promoted to detective from corporal, made the announcement Friday. Hundreds of people offered their condolences via social media.
“There will be a piece of my heart always missing,” Thurman wrote. “To the best partner I ever had, R.I.P.”
Laslo joined the force in 2013, and together with Thurman, quickly became one of the most prolific crime stoppers the sheriff’s office has ever seen. Among his many talents, deputies credited his knack for sniffing out crime and applying just the right amount of force when taking down a suspect.
The energetic and spunky German shepherd was involved in several dangerous encounters, including an apprehension in July 2013 when an assault suspect hiding under a camper struck Laslo in the face with his arm, which was wrapped in a hard cast, several times until the dog’s nose bled.
Laslo was attacked several months later in a SWAT raid on the South Hill, and in January 2016, he and Thurman encountered two pit bulls in Spokane Valley. Laslo was uninjured, while Thurman received a puncture wound to the leg.
“Detective Thurman and that particular K-9 were one of the most productive and dynamic teams that the sheriff’s office has ever had,” said Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. “They did a lot of great work for the citizens of the county.”
In September 2017, Laslo became a father to nine puppies after breeding with another German shepherd named Javy. One puppy named Justice has been groomed to become a police dog.
In the last days of Laslo’s crime fighting, he helped capture four more suspects, bringing his total number of apprehensions to nearly 500.
Around that time, Thurman made regular posts on a Facebook account dedicated to Laslo, updating the public on his condition. In May, the last post that mentioned his illness, Thurman posted that Laslo was “still doing great” after the community helped pitch in to pay for his seizure medication.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.