MADERA COUNTY — Sheriff John Anderson is saddened to announce the passing of Madera County’s top drug sniffing canine, K9 Zak.
K9 Zak worked nearly a decade before his passing, earning the reputation as top drug sniffing canine among local, state and even federal officials.
Bred in England, this highly trained Springer Spaniel came to the United States in 2003.
On the 4th of July that same year, Zak was paired with the only partner he’s ever known, Lieutenant Tyson Pogue.
K9 Zak retired in 2012 but was long remembered for his successful alerts and seizures during his decade of service.
In his more than 600 deployments, K9 Zak alerted more than 4,000 times, resulting in over 200 felony arrests, seizing over a million dollars in narcotics, which included 4,300 grams of methamphetamine, 21,000 grams of marijuana, 1,515 grams of cocaine, 158 grams of heroin – not to mention several vehicles, and $785,000 in US currency.
At age 13 and counting, signs of aging were starting to show. And even though K9 Zak still had his game, there came a point when Lt. Pogue had to make that rough call – let him continue, or allow his K9 partner to retire with dignity.
K9 Zak retired from duty officially in January 2012, but the entire department, who grew quite fond of his enthusiasm, spunk and above all devotion, knew that this canine, whose heart was as big as the county he served, would quickly find a new calling.
K9 Zak leaped at the challenge of meeting the demands of a stay-at-home canine companion to Lt. Pogue’s children.
After living a full and gifted life, K9 Zak’s blissful years of fetching and watching over the entire Pogue Clan, came to end last month.
For obvious reasons, it took Lt. Pogue until now to even talk about K9 Zak’s passing.
In a brief email Lt. Pogue wrote, “It’s with great sadness that I’m letting you know that my best pal Zak passed away. I miss him terribly. I’m not ready to talk about it, but wanted to let you know.”
As one who knows so well the nature of Springer Spaniels, Sheriff Anderson said, “There’s an old saying about Springers. They have more will than most, and even when they tire, they refuse to quit. K9 Zak was very much a part of our family, and he is terribly missed.”
K9 Zak, born July 4, 1999, died on Sept. 25, 2013.