By Alexandra Hedrick, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
After nearly 10 years of service, the city of Poplarville has retired its K-9, Dido.
Dido is a Czech Shepherd that came to Poplarville in August 2003. He was only 16 months old and was an enthusiastic pup, ready to take on his job when he was assigned to Officer Kimble Farmer. For two years, Dido worked alongside Farmer assisting in narcotics arrests and tracking fugitives.
When Farmer left Poplarville in July 2005, Dido joined forces with Officer Chris Netto. Dido has been Netto’s loyal partner for the last eight years and will retire to Netto’s home.
Dido was trained to answer 58 commands spoken in Czech and to be a multi-purpose K-9, which means he was trained to aid in narcotics cases, fugitive tracking and act as a constant protector to his handler, Netto said.
Dido learned the smells of different narcotics and that if he found narcotics, he would get his favorite toy through a training method called “ball drive,” Said Capt. Rossi Creel of the Poplarville Police Department. Creel said Dido doesn’t know what cocaine or marijuana is, he just knows that if he correctly identifies the smell, he will get his toy.
After Netto and Dido formed a bond, Netto said he would let Dido out of the car, and the dog would know what to do before Netto could give him any commands.
In his nearly 10 years with the force, Dido has never had to bite anyone, Creel said. Creel said Dido’s large size is enough of a deterrent for any suspect.
“When he gets in that patrol car, it’s like he turns on a switch and he’s ready to work,” Creel said.
When Dido isn’t working, he lives with Netto and has formed a bond with Netto’s two children and father, who live with him.
“It’s amazing how he can tell the difference. He knows that’s his family,” Netto said.
Netto and his family are looking forward to Dido’s retirement and full-time presence at their home in the Crossroads community. Netto said he will be taking a break from the K-9 unit for awhile. After speaking to other K-9 unit officers, Netto said he doesn’t want to get a new dog and constantly compare him to Dido.
The Poplarville Police Department decided to retire Dido because he is now nearly 12 years old and believe it is a good time for Dido to lay back and relax. Netto said Dido still has his “ball drive,” but he still thinks it’s the right decision.
“He’s a vital asset to our department and we’re sad to see him go, but there comes a time in the life of a police K-9 that it becomes obvious that a dog just needs to be a dog,” Creel said about the decision to retire Dido.
Creel said the police department doesn’t have plans at this time to acquire another dog. He said the cost to get a trained dog, keep the animal up to date on training and its daily maintenance is very expensive and the department doesn’t have the funds at this time.
Dido and the K-9 unit were officially retired on June 4 at the Poplarville City Board Meeting.