LOOKING AHEAD - Sgt. Eric Stebenne

LOOKING AHEAD - Sgt. Eric Stebenne

Police dog of slain officer thriving in new partnership

An RCMP dog who lost his handler after he was killed in New Brunswick this past June has returned to the Police Dog Service Training Centre in Innisfail and has been partnered with another RCMP officer.

Three RCMP officers were killed in the line of duty on June 4th in Moncton, one of those officers being Const. David Ross. Since those events, there has been a public swell of interest in Danny, his police service dog.

“During the memorial service on June 10th, Const. Ross’ partner, police service dog Danny, became a major interest for the public and the media as he was heard whimpering through the ceremony and he was captured afterwards scenting his fallen handler’s Stetson during the procession,” said Insp. André Lemyre, officer in charge of RCMP Police Dog Services. “Ever since then, the public and the media’s interest for Danny has remained passionate and persistent.”

Danny, who Lemyre described as one of the RCMP’s top dogs, has been re-partnered with another officer and is thriving. Danny and his new handler returned to the PDSTC in early August and began their re-team training. They will be returning to operational policing in the near future.

He said the RCMP will not be sharing Danny’s new posting or any information pertaining to Danny’s new handler with public.

“What’s important now is that Danny and his new handler be given the opportunity to perform their duties to the highest standard,” said Lemyre. “We want to give them both every opportunity to succeed and thrive in their new partnership.”

Danny was born on Sept. 7th, 2011 at the PDSTC and at eight weeks of age, he was sent to Vancouver Island to be raised and imprinted by an RCMP member and aspiring dog handler.

On Dec. 4th, 2012, after showing great potential, Danny was sent to Ross in Moncton and together they returned to the PDSTC on April 22nd to begin their formal training. The team graduated on Aug. 30th, 2013, and then returned to Moncton as part of the Codiac Regional Police Dog Services where they served with pride.

Following the tragic events of June 4th, Danny was returned to the PDSTC, where he was teamed with a new and experienced handler to begin a bonding process.

Danny is a progeny of the RCMP breeding program. He is first and foremost a police service dog, and has been bred, imprinted and trained through rewards starting at a young age. He has confidence and is very driven, which makes him an excellent police service dog, officials said.

Danny is performing a service which he loves to do and it is expected that he will be able to continue his career as a police service dog for at least five more years.

Sgt. Eric Stebenne, a trainer at the PDSTC, said there is a strong bond between a handler and their dog.

“The bond is really the foundation of our training philosophy, both at the imprinting stage and the training stage. Without it, we really couldn’t train our police dogs the way we do,” he said. “I think it would have been fair to say there was very likely some separation anxiety between Danny and Const. Ross when it happened. The bond between Danny and his new handler has been very strong and they are working well together.”