MONTEBELLO — A necropsy report showed a Montebello police dog died when a weakness in his lung caused it to collapse without warning, police said Thursday.
A veteran of the police department for over four years, Ozzy died April 11. The Belgian Malinois worked patrol and was also used to detect narcotics.
With Ozzy’s help, Montebello police have seized drugs with an estimated street value of over $1 million and recovered more than $3.8 million in cash from drug traffickers, Lt. Luis Lopez said.
In his time with the department, Ozzy’s alerts led to the seizure of over 4500 pounds of marijuana, 129 kilos of cocaine, 62 pounds of methamphetamine and two pounds of heroin.
“Ozzy was a great asset to the community that he worked hard to protect. He will truly be missed by the community and the police department,” Lopez said.
Police said the council and the community were aware of the dog’s death last month but no press release was done then.
Ozzy died of “spontaneous pneumothorax”.
Pneumothorax is the medical term for an accumulation of air in the pleural space, the area between the chest wall and the lungs, according to the site petMD.com
One type is called spontaneous pneumothorax and isn’t caused by trauma. As petMD pointed out, spontaneous pneumothorax occurs in the absence of some underlying lung disease or is associated with lung disease.
The K9 handler, Cpl. Steve Sharpe, was on his way to training with Ozzy on April 11 when he noticed the dog was breathing abnormally, according to Lopez.
Sharpe drove Ozzy to the Montebello Dog and Cat Hospital.
During the examination, Lopez said Ozzy took a turn for the worse and went into full respiratory arrest. He said the dog was unable to be revived and died in his handler’s arms.
Ozzy had over 400 deployments as both a patrol dog and a cross trained narcotics detection dog. He found six suspects who were hiding from the police.
“Another 17 suspects peacefully surrendered to K9 Ozzy – after giving a warning that Ozzy was about to be used to search for them,” Lopez said.
Ozzy’s death has left the police department with one dog.
– Ruby Gonzales