Pittsylvania Co. Sheriff's Office remembers K-9 with outstanding career

Sergeant Michael Szelc with K-9 Officer Chase. (Courtesy: Sgt. Szelc)

PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. (WSET) -- Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Office handler Sergeant Michael Szelc said he had to put down his retired bloodhound, K-9 Officer Chase.

"His health was declining, pretty much since the end of Summer," Sgt. Szelc said. "We've been in and out of the vet and it was just time."

Wednesday, Chase's fellow K-9 officers as well as others he had worked with in the past honored him with a police escort after Sgt. Szelc picked up his ashes at Cherrystone Veterinary Hospital in Chatham.

"It's humbling to see the turnout of all the officers that would show up and bring him to his final resting place," said Deputy M. Reynolds.

Chase was almost 10-years-old and accomplished a lot in his lifetime.

According to Sgt. Szelc, Chase saved 11 lives throughout his career, and recovered seven bodies.

"We were put on standby for the Boston Bombing, the New York Escape Inmates, [and] we were utilized in Pennsylvania for the cop killer Eric Frein," Sgt. Szelc said.

Chase was on force for almost seven years and caught 63 people.

He sent those people behind bars for a combined 368 years of incareration.

Chase was named Hound of the Year four years in a row by the FBI.

"Thank you for your service Chase and thank you to Szelc," Deputy Destinee Tompkins said. "Appreciate their hard work, dedication, them protecting us and bringing them in for us."

Sgt. Szelc shared that he and his other K-9 officer Zwei will be traveling to Maryland next week for training.

They will also be going to Switzerland for a special training as well in March.

Sgt. Szelc has been a K-9 handler for 10 years and Chase was his first dog. Collectively Sgt. Szelc, Chase and Zwei have over about 105 finds.

ABC 13 highlighted their significant accomplishment of reaching 100 finds back in October.

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