RENO, NV - A Washoe County Sheriff's Office K9 has died, with his handler, Deputy Corey Solferino, by his side.
Undersheriff Todd Vinger says the passing of Kraft on Saturday will be a great loss for the agency, but even a greater loss for Kraft's handler and partner.
"Kraft was a rising star with our agency," Vinger said of the Czech Shepherd. "Like all of our service dogs, he was a humble hero; completely dedicated to his work and was an exemplary performer."
K-9 Kraft was acquired by the Sheriff's office through a private donation by Cal Sierra Express Trucking. Kraft was trained as a dual purpose K-9, working Patrol and narcotics. He was certified in evidence and article search. Evidence search certification allows the K-9 to assist in solving or assisting in cases where a suspect has discarded or hidden a weapon or other articles.
Born January 6, 2006 in the Czech Republic, Kraft was trained to respond to Czechoslovakian commands. In addition to tracking down a considerable number of drugs during his years with the Sheriff's Office, K-9 Kraft assisted with several missing persons investigations.
Deputy Solferino says Kraft could not wait to go to work each day.
"Every time we did a traffic stop his behavior changed, showing me that he was ready to face the risks of an unknown situation. He was always watching and waiting for my commands the entire time."
Although committed to his work, Kraft was also a beloved family member.
"The second we got to the house and I took off his work collar, he knew he was home," Solferino said.
"He was a totally different dog at home," agreed Solferino's wife Karla, also a deputy with the Washoe County Sheriff's Office. "We never saw an aggressive side to him. Our children adored Kraft. They felt completely safe with him; he was their protector too. They felt invincible when he was around."
Kraft's love of children was also reflected in the way he warmly greeted and "talked" to children at demonstrations and other special community events.
Deputy Solferino says he wants to thank the community for its concern and passion for the Sheriff's Office K-9 program.
The sheriff's office says health complications are to blame to Kraft's death.