Sheriff's Dog Dies in Drug Training 

Sheriff's Dog Dies in Drug Training 
Posted by FoM on November 30, 1999 at 13:52:13 PT
By S.U. Mahesh, Journal Staff Writer
Source: ABQjournal
After 21 dog years in service, one of Santa Fe County Sheriff's Department's top canines died in the line of duty Monday morning. Max, a 4-year-old male German Shepherd who loved to chase bad guys and sniff out contraband, succumbed to methamphetamine poisoning during a routine drug-training exercise. 
 "It's very unfortunate that we lost one of our best dogs today," Undersheriff Benjie Montaño said. "Max was a pretty good, well-rounded dog. He was probably one of our best tracking dogs." Accompanied by his handler, Deputy Ernest Borrego, Max was undergoing his biweekly narcotics training at the La Cienega Fire Station Monday morning. As part of the exercise, professional trainers hid a plastic-wrapped package of methamphetamine inside a drawer, Montaño said. "He had no problems finding it, but he accidentally unlocked the drawer with his paws and grabbed the drug," Montaño said. "He bit it and spit it out." Max immediately collapsed at the scene and was rushed to a veterinarian's office in Santa Fe, where he died, Montaño said. "He either inhaled or ingested some of the meth, and it was powerful enough to kill him," Montaño said. The sheriff's department has ordered an autopsy to determined how much methamphetamine Max may have inhaled or swallowed. Holding back tears, Borrego on Monday still talked about his crime-fighting companion of three years in the present tense. "He's just so aggressive for everything. It's his nature," Borrego said. "It's an accident, and it's unfortunate this happened." Max was a multitalented police dog who tracked lost individuals in Santa Fe area forests with the same intensity he showed when pursuing criminals running from the law. He also assisted his master on patrol, sniffing drugs on unsuspecting users or dealers during traffic stops. To his credit, Max helped catch several criminals in his short career. Only a month ago, he nabbed a drunken driver who led Borrego on a high-speed chase, then tried to flee on foot after abandoning his vehicle on N.M. 14 near the state prison. "I let Max loose to do his thing," Borrego said. Borrego also recalled another incident two years ago when he was struggling with a belligerent man during a traffic stop. Max jumped out of the squad car to help his master. "I didn't even call him. He just knew I was in trouble," Borrego said. Max once outran six deputies to stop a Santa Fe County man who was accused of threatening to kill his wife with a double-edged ax. "He made a big difference out there. We're going to miss him," Borrego said. Borrego said his three children are devastated by Max's death. "He is part of the family. They're crying, and they're taking it very hard. "I have always told people that it was like having four kids. But the dog listened," he added, forcing a smile. Borrego said he will cremate Max and keep his ashes in an urn at his house. "I'll have him with me all the time," he said. "It's really hard to explain. It's kind of losing a family member." Undersheriff Montaño said that the department will retire Max's name as long as he and Sheriff Ray Sisneros are in the office. "That will be our only Max," Montaño said. Published: November 30, 1999Copyright © 1997, 1998, 1999 Albuquerque Journal
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Comment #4 posted by Mr.Poleeeceman on April 12, 2001 at 10:47:31 PT:
Stupid pot smokers.
What a bunch of morons you pot smokers are. LOL!! Keep smoking that crap. It makes my job so much easier.
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Comment #3 posted by Doug A on November 30, 1999 at 19:05:34 PT:
Lock 'em up!!!
The idiot cops that did this should be locked up for animal cruelty, possessing a "controlled" (haha) substance and whatever other laws they broke!(Oh, I forgot, cops don't have to obey the law. They ARE the law. Do as they say, not as they do, or it's the slammer for you!)What did poor dogs do to get sucked into the humans' ludicrous drug war? If the dogs knew that most of the hype was over a benign plant, they'd die laughing! On the other hand, if they knew that the "game" they're playing ruins humans' lives, they'd die crying.The cops say they're after meth, but when all the Partnership for a Freedom-Free America and our benevolent McCzar talk about is pot, what does that say about the priorities of law enforcement?If drugs such as meth were regulated by the government, there would be no need to train Max to sniff them! The chance of anyone, human or other, dying from an OD would also be greatly reduced as purity and strength would be regulated, and dosages would be specified. It's time these cops listen to their state governor!!! It's not just humans who are dying because of the WOSD.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on November 30, 1999 at 16:34:27 PT
It's wrong!
Hi observer,What a way to die too! I can't imagine a drug death worse then speeding yourself right out of this world. I posted this because I love animals and how can we allow dogs to be used in something like this. It is wrong. I understand training a dog for search and rescue and seeing eye etc. but this is wrong, just plain wrong!Peace, FoM!
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Comment #1 posted by observer on November 30, 1999 at 16:00:51 PT
professional trainers let the meth out of the bag
> As part of the exercise, professional trainers hid a plastic-wrapped package of methamphetamine inside a drawer, Montaño said. "He had no problems finding it, but he accidentally unlocked the drawer with his paws and grabbed the drug," Montaño said. "He bit it and spit it out." In other words the "professional trainers" messed up: they placed the target substance in packaging that could be ripped by a dog's teeth... You can bet that new `guidelines' will be established that prevent this (better packaging, diluted target substances, etc).One also has to wonder how many nonviolent marijuana smokers have been incarcerated due to Max (and his police-state trainers). The poor dogs think it is all a game. Too bad Max wasn't trained as a seeing-eye dog, instead of a police state pooch. 
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