A fund has been established at Whitney Bank to help pay for the purchase of a new canine. The account number is 716885093. Contributions may be made at any Whitney Bank location or by calling 291-8723 or 291-8724.
The Lafayette City Marshal`s Office is mourning the sudden death of Arko, the first canine in the agency`s 100-year history.
Arko, a dual-trained Belgian Malinois, died last week after undergoing emergency surgery, Marshal Nicky Picard said. He was under a veterinarian`s care at the time of his death.
Picard said Arko`s handler, Deputy Allan Roger, noticed that the dog wasn`t acting like himself as he prepared to take part in a competition in Baton Rouge. A trip to the vet revealed that Arko had a condition in which the animal`s stomach flips.
"We understand that about 60,000 dogs a year die from this," Picard said. "From what the vet told us, it usually happens with dogs with a big chest cavity and who are very active, and they see it a lot in greyhounds. They also see it happen in horses and cattle."
Arko had been a valuable part of the agency since joining the team about a year ago. The local Crime Stoppers organization paid for his purchase, and Arko stayed at the marshal`s office during the day and
accompanied deputies as they sought suspects who had outstanding warrants. He also helped search for drugs and worked with several other law enforcement agencies in the Acadiana area.
"He worked with the federal marshals, the state police, basically anybody who called us," Picard said. "He was in a manhunt in St. Martin Parish. Whenever they needed him, we would send him out."
Roger was particularly upset and was with Arko at the time of his death. Roger`s blood pressure spiked and he required hospital treatment, but he has since returned to work.
"He (Roger) was so close to Arko. He and his wife and his mother all cried about it. It was like losing a son, because Arko was a part of their family," Picard said. "But a nice thing was that a lot of handlers from other agencies met with him and brought their dogs, and that has really helped him."
The office is in the process of trying to purchase another canine. Picard said another dog, Renzo, has been working with Roger within the past few days to see if they are a compatible match. A dog and its handler must work together for at least eight weeks before they can go out in the community together.
Arko`s remains were cremated. A memorial service is planned for a later date. Deputies will wear black bands across their badges until April 15 in honor of Arko.