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VSP K9 dies of heat exhaustion complications following search for suspect

Virginia State Police are mourning the death of K9 Duke after he died of complications from...
Virginia State Police are mourning the death of K9 Duke after he died of complications from heat exhaustion, which he experienced while searching for a suspect.(Virginia State Police)
Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 4:10 PM EDT
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SHENANDOAH Co., Va. (WWBT) - Virginia State Police are mourning the death of K9 Duke after he died of complications from heat exhaustion, which he experienced while searching for a suspect.

On Aug. 28, K9 Duke and his handler, Senior Trooper J.R. Lewis, were called to help track a hit-and-run suspect involved in a crash that happened along Interstate 81 in Shenandoah County.

“The tracking and search efforts required of the canine team were extensive and demanding as temperatures reached into the 90s with extreme humidity,” VSP said.

Once Duke started showing symptoms of heat exhaustion, Lewis took him back to the patrol vehicle to cool off and hydrate.

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of #VSP Patrol Canine Duke. Duke succumbed to complications...

Posted by Virginia State Police on Tuesday, August 31, 2021

“They immediately headed to an emergency veterinary clinic in the region where Duke underwent treatment to help him recover. Unfortunately, the damage to his organs was too severe,” VSP said.

K9 Duke died Monday night, Aug. 30, with Lewis by his side.

Duke joined the troopers in 2016 when he was 8 months old, and served as a beloved member of the Culpeper Division Area 12/Warrenton Office.

The last K9 line-of-duty death for VSP was K9 Vader when he was shot and killed following a pursuit in Sussex County in Aug. 2018.

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