Jake, a four-year-old Belgian Malinois, died after locating some drugs that turned out to be synthetic marijuana which is believed to have been laced with rat poison.
The dog, alongside his team, was searching around a cell at the Staton Correctional Facility when he was taken ill. Despite being treated at a veterinary facility and appearing to recover briefly, he died at around 3:00pm on Saturday (20 July).
At the time of his death, the dog had rapidly spiralling vital signs and was suffering from pneumonia as a result of his encounter with the synthetic weed.
RIP Jake. Credit: Alabama Department of Corrections
In a statement, Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn told the Washington Post: “Jake’s heroism and ultimate sacrifice will never be forgotten.
“I extend our deepest condolences for the loss of this noble K-9 who honourably served the State of Alabama, and for ultimately giving his life while protecting the public.”
Jake’s handler, Sergeant Quinton Jones, said that two nurses tried to administer CPR to the poor dog in the prison courtyard, but their efforts proved in vain.
He commended his beloved dog as having a model reputation that he maintained throughout his career, which began as a puppy in 2014.
Jones said that his loyal partner had an ‘impeccable record in counter-drug operations’.
Kay Ivey, the Governor of the State of Alabama, expressed her own sadness over the death of the poor dog, sending a message of condolence to his colleagues.
She said that she thanked Jake for his ‘dedication to protecting the people of Alabama and ultimate sacrifice to that cause’.
“I was saddened to hear that one of the Corrections K-9s, Jake, lost his life over the weekend. This K-9 died in service to public safety and in service to the state.
“Jake is an example of the goodness, the loyalty and service that our four-legged friends provide. We certainly lost a loyal companion.”
The Alabama police paid tribute to Jake on Facebook. Credit: Alabama Department of Corrections
The K-9 dog is to be put to rest in a memorial service later on this week and will receive full honours, according to Department of Corrections spokesperson Bob Horton.
The departmental Investigation and Intelligence Division is currently in the process of carrying out a full criminal investigation into Jake’s death.
They said that they will find the person responsible for the synthetic weed and the culprit will be ‘prosecuted to the full extent of the law’.