Unified Police K9 remembered as a 'protector' during memorial service

Herriman, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - It's a somber day for members of the Unified Police Department as officials gathered at Herriman High School with heavy hearts, to say one last goodbye to K9 Officer Dingo, a beloved member of the team.
 
One by one, police officers who knew Dingo best, addressed the crowd while a slideshow showing Dingo's photos played behind them. 
 
"Dingo was our teammate -- he was our partner and our friend," said Lt. Brian Lohrke, Unified Police Department. "We're going to miss him more than anyone will ever know."
 
Lt. Chad Reyes, Dingo's Handler, told the crowd that he wasn't going to speak today, but had a change of heart -- he said he owed it to his friend.
 
"Dingo was so much more than just a dog to me. He was my fishing buddy, my confidant, my constant companion, my ever loyal partner and my protector." 
 
Dingo lost his life earlier this month in the line of duty. Unified Police tell ABC4 Utah that he was shot multiple times by wanted fugitive Torey Massey, who was on the run.
 
"These are animals that live with these men and women day and night and are willing to sacrifice themselves," explained Sheriff Jim Winder, Salt Lake County.
 
Sheriff Winder said if Dingo weren't first to pursue the suspect, today's funeral could have been for one of his officers.
 
"There's no question," said Winder, "had a human being been pursuing him into those trees, that individual would have pulled that gun out, and in my opinion shot and killed an officer or more."
 
"He kept Chad safe and kept Chad with us. He did his job, and he did it well," explained Lt. Lohrke.
 
After today's service, Dingo was escorted by a full police procession to a private cemetary and laid to rest.
 
"I know some people will watch this ceremony and think that it's overboard -- it's not. These animals provide a service to this community that is second to none. And when they die in the line of duty, they deserve every bit of what we've given him here today," Sheriff Winder said.
 
In Utah, killing a police service animal is a third-degree felony that warrants up to five years in prison.

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