K-9 Officer Amigo dies from heat exhaustion after tracking injured hikers

Officer Adam Simonsen and his K-9 counterpart, Officer Amigo, following the seizure of 50 kilos of cocaine, Kingman, Arizona, February 2016 | Photo courtesy of Kingman Police Department, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Three days after assisting in the rescue of two injured hikers in Kingman, Arizona, a Police K-9 has died as a result of heat exhaustion suffered in the line of duty while tracking the hikers.

Police K-9 Officer Amigo, photo location and date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Kingman Police Department, St. George News
Police K-9 Officer Amigo, photo location and date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Kingman Police Department, St. George News

K-9 Amigo, a three-year old Belgian Malinois, and his counterparts responded to a 911 call Wednesday placed by hikers needing to be rescued from the top of a mountain range near White Cliffs, according to a statement issued by the Kingman Police Department.

The two hikers were rescued and transported to the Kingman Regional Medical Center to be treated for minor injuries, police said.

Following the rescue, K-9 Amigo began showing signs of heat exhaustion and was immediately taken to a local veterinary clinic. Later that evening, Amigo was transported to the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care in Las Vegas, Nevada, for advanced care.

Initially, Amigo began showing signs of improvement, police said. However, the K-9 officer died Saturday morning.

“This is a very sad occasion,” Kingman Chief of Police Robert J. DeVries said in a statement. “The bond between our handlers and their dogs is very strong and the officer is devastated by the loss. While they are working dogs, these animals also become a close and important part of the individual police officer’s family as well as the rest of the KPD family. Clearly, we have lost one of our own.”

Officers drove to Las Vegas Monday to take K-9 Amigo home to rest. When officers reached Kingman City limits, Amigo’s body was escorted by law enforcement to Cerbat Cliffs Animal Hospital where he will remain until he’s laid to rest, Las Vegas, Nevada, Aug. 22, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Kingman Police Department, St. George News
Officers drove to Las Vegas Monday to take K-9 Amigo home to rest. When officers reached Kingman City limits, Amigo’s body was escorted by law enforcement to Cerbat Cliffs Animal Hospital where he will remain until he’s laid to rest, Las Vegas, Nevada, Aug. 22, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Kingman Police Department, St. George News

Amigo had been serving with the Kingman Police Department for one year.

Amigo was certified in narcotics detection, tracking and handler protection. According to the Police Department, the K-9 officer is credited with numerous narcotics seizures including the seizure of 50 kilograms of cocaine in February.

Officers drove to Las Vegas, Nevada, Monday to bring Amigo home to rest. When officers reached Kingman City limits, Amigo’s body was escorted by law enforcement to Cerbat Cliffs Animal Hospital where he will remain until he’s laid to rest.

In accordance with national protocol in a K-9 line of duty death, the Police Department said it will host a memorial service next week with details to follow.

The Kingman Police Department posted the following statement on its Facebook page:

It is with a heavy heart that we must announce that we have lost another hero, from the Kingman Police Department in Arizona; may God bless you for your service to your community, K-9 Amigo, and we pray that He will bring every ounce of peace, comfort, and strength to your partner, Officer Simonsen, along with the rest of your family and co-workers left behind.

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Email: kscott@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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8 Comments

  • hiker75 August 23, 2016 at 8:27 am

    Not another K9 to die at the hands of the police! I have to wonder if police are being adequately trained to responsibly handle the dogs/officers. Will the reasons for the dehydration and death be investigated?

  • .... August 23, 2016 at 8:58 am

    This is a sad day for a special Police officer that gave his life to assist others in time of need. his life was short but will not be forgotten by the law enforcement community I’m sure. ..Praise the Lord !

    • sandemorgan@aol.com August 23, 2016 at 9:22 pm

      It is so terribly sad and a waste of a beautiful animal that lost his life because of some inexperienced hikers who suffered minor injuries because they were in a place where they shouldn’t have been. How many of our officers, including our K-9 officers are endangered by people who take risks and expect someone to rescue them. People these days don’t take responsibility for their own actions. There is no monetary amount that could every replace Amigo in the hearts of his handler and his fellow officers, but if irresponsible people were made to pay for the loss to the department for the cost and training of Amigo and his invaluable addition to the department just maybe people will think about what they’re doing and stay safe.

  • wilbur August 23, 2016 at 10:04 am

    Maybe the dogs are better trained than the handlers?

  • mrsmith August 23, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    To those officers, the Dogs are their partners and family. Show some respect!

    • .... August 23, 2016 at 9:25 pm

      Amen to that mrsmith. .. ( thank you )

  • Jimmym August 23, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    While sad, at least the hikers were located and safely rescued.

    Most human officers willingly put their lives at risk everyday. K9 units are the same. Thanks for your service Amigo, RIP.

  • digger August 24, 2016 at 8:14 am

    To Bad, Officer was not Properly Trained,
    A Dog On a Desert Hike Needs Plenty Of Water and they are just Hikin, This Dog was Working, So Sad.
    You Gotta Give em Time to Water Up, and they will, I always packed water for My Dog, in this case the dog had a Vest On and couldnt cool down.. sad sad

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