ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KTVI) – The St. Louis County Police Department is mourning the loss of a special officer, one who was only 9-years old and, undoubtedly, man’s best friend.
K-9 Zar was euthanized Tuesday after battling an aggressive form of cancer. During weekly training, his handler discovered Zar was having difficulty walking. An emergency visit to the veterinarian revealed cancer had spread through Zar’s body.
The news was hard to take for those who knew Zar.
”It hurts me knowing Zar from the time when he was basically a puppy,” Mike Castellano said.
Mike Castellano is a board member with P.A.W. Stoppers, the not-for-profit organization that raises funds for local K-9 operations in the metropolitan area.
Castellano began his K-9 career with Zar and Zar’s handler, Officer Scott Scarborough.
“They’re partners with these guys 24-7. And they’re trained to protect these handlers,” Castellano said. “And not only do you lose a pet but they truly are a family member, to the handler and to the police department and the community as a whole.”
Zar’s accomplishments include the apprehension of various suspects and the detection of seizures and narcotics.
“He had a lot of big finds in his career, whether it was apprehending criminals or locating key pieces of evidence. Super dog,” Castellano said.
P.A.W. Stoppers has begun to raise funds for a memorial dedicated to St. Louis County K-9’s who have retired or died in the line of duty. Zar represents the latter category, marking the first loss of its kind for St. Louis County Police.
The K-9 memorial will feature a life-sized, bronze-casted German Shepherd and will be located at the Tails & Trails Dog Park at Queeny Park.
Donations to the K-9 memorial are being accepted on the GoFundMeSite.
P.A.W. Stoppers announced the death of another K-9, K-9 Lass retired from the St. Louis County Police Department last year and was facing ongoing health issues.