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Over 60 police dog teams gather in Woodstock for fallen dog's memorial

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Police officers and their canine partners from across the province marched in Woodstock Tuesday as a police dog who died in the line of duty last month was laid to rest.

Born in 2019, Taz joined the Woodstock Police Service in 2021. He’s being remembered as a high-energy and extremely capable police dog who loved a jump in the pond when not working.

“He was a good community dog. He was an effective tracking dog. On all disciplines, he was amazing – never a problem, never an issue,” said London Police Service Sgt. Travis Wintjes, who helped train Taz.

A procession of police dogs and officers march to a memorial service for Woodstock police dog Taz on Aug. 1, 2023. Taz died on July 3 after consuming drugs that had been thrown out of the window of a fleeing car. (Facebook/Woodstock Police Service)

Wintjes said the police K9 community is close and it’s difficult to see one of their own go down.

“Every dog handler has a little bit of, you know, they've been through the connection with their dog. So it's a lot, the way that that we've lost Taz in the line of duty.”

Woodstock police say Taz and another dog, Striker, were deployed as part of a drug investigation in Stratford on July 3 when both appeared to ingest crystal methamphetamine. Narcan was administered and both dogs were rushed to a veterinary clinic. Striker survived, but Taz did not.

Starting at 11 a.m. Tuesday, a procession involving more than 60 police dogs and their handlers, pipers, horses and other police personnel marched down Finkle Street to the Reeves Community Complex where a private service was held.

A private memorial service for police dog Taz is held at Reeves Community Complex in Woodstock on Aug. 1, 2023. (Jeff Pickel/CTV Kitchener)

While the service was closed to the public, dozens of community members lined the streets to honour Taz.

“Our son is a police officer, so it’s near and dear to our hearts to make sure that we support our police officers in every aspect that they do – whether it be a dog or anything – because they are there to help protect us and sometimes we need to give thanks for what they do,” one person who watched the procession with their dog told CTV News.

Woodstock police say they were honoured to see so many officers, dogs and community members remember Taz.

“To see all of the people who came out to line in the street to watch the procession to pay their respects to Taz was something really special for the police service,” said Shaylyn Jackson, a community service officer with Woodstock police.

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