Sheriff’s Department K-9 retiring after decade of service

Published 7:00 am Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Pearl River County Sheriff Department’s K-9 unit Nix is retiring this week after serving the department for nine years.
“He’s my first partner, he has helped me tremendously, there have been times when I should have done something and he saved me,” Cpl. Brian Anthony said.
But Nix’s retirement came too soon for Anthony, after a local veterinarian discovered a tumor growing near his eye, he said.
Nix was visiting high school students, as he often does as part of the department’s community outreach, when Anthony found blood coming from his mouth after a bout of tug of war.
What was initially thought to be a cracked tooth, turned out to be a tumor affecting his nasal cavity and has now grown to cover his eye, Anthony said.
Due to the eventual discomfort, lack of treatment and the tumor’s effect on his ability to eat, Anthony said the decision was made to put him to sleep to end his suffering.
“He’s not whining. To tell you the truth, unless it’s excruciating, he won’t complain. He just has that personality to him; he’s always raring to go,” Anthony said. “It’s hard, no matter how often you try to prepare yourself.”
The pure-bred German Shepherd came to the department in 2008 from the U.S. Air Force, Anthony said.
He was being trained as a bomb dog, but had the unfortunate habit of placing his paw on the bombs, an act that comes in handy as a narcotics dog, Anthony said.
In January of 2009, Nix apprehended the suspects in a robbery at a local Sonic where the culprits forced employees into the store’s freezers while they took the cash, Anthony said.
In addition to apprehension, Nix is also certified to detect marijuana, methamphetamine and cocaine. He can also sniff out C-4 explosives, Anthony said.
But Nix isn’t just a police dog, he’s a loyal partner and a member of the Anthony family.
“Even my wife, who is not a dog person, will make a point to say hi to him,” he said.
Now, Anthony is raising two female puppies to be K-9 officers, a German Shepherd and a Dutch Shepherd, he said.
One of them will eventually become his next partner.
As a certified K-9 trainer, the department no longer has to hire someone to train the dogs, saving the department money.
“The county is 820 miles thick, with it being a small department, K-9’s augment the patrol, they’re a useful tool, but they’re also a very loving part of the team,” Anthony said.
With so many ways to use K-9s in police work, Anthony said the dogs could be trained for any kind of search and rescue mission.
In fact, the units have helped find missing children in the past, he said.
“In order for us to smell something, we need 800 particles, a dog only needs one,” Anthony said.
These highly trained dogs are the eyes, nose and ears for their partners.
“I owe him a lot,” Anthony said, recalling times when Nix would notice something he may have missed. “There are no limits to what he can do.”
The five dogs in the department form a unit, but each dog and handler is a team working as a pack of their own, with the handler taking the Alpha role.
The department will hold a funeral procession for Nix starting at 8:30 a.m. at the Poplarville Animal Clinic. The procession will ride down Highway 11 to The Animal House on Highway 43 North where Nix will be cremated.
“I just want to do something where I can honor him and thank him for being such a good partner,” Anthony said.
He also encouraged anyone seeking a new pet to visit one of the many area shelters who have too many dogs seeking a good home.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

About Julia Arenstam

Staff Writer

email author More by Julia