Former Dillingham K9, Lutri, dies after retirement
Lutri, a 7-year-old Dutch Shepherd trained police K9, passed away in early October. He was retired from service with the Alaska State Trooper post in Ketchikan in April, and according to AST, succumbed to complications from a blood clot. He lived with his handler after retirement until his death.
The drug-sniffing dog used to work for the Dillingham Police Department, too.
"Lutri was a nice, friendly dog, and helped us make a few drug seizures when he was working for us in Dillingham," DPD chief Dan Pasquariello recalled recently.
Pasquariello used to work with the state WAANT unit, and Lutri was often used to sniff luggage and parcels coming into town. If the dog smelled drugs, that may provide enough probable cause for a judge to grant a search warrant. Pasquariello said that led to several busts, mainly of marijuana, but sometimes heroin and other drugs.
"He also got to travel, and he went to Koliganek one time and helped us search a house," said the chief of a successful heroin bust.
The city bought Lutri for $8,000 in 2012, using asset forfeiture funds. There were other costs involved with the K9, including food and occasionally costly vet bills. But the unexpectedly high costs came from the training and quick turnover of handlers.
"We went through two of them who actually only worked the dog for a period of about a year," Pasquariello said.
The city balked at investing in a third handler and Lutri sat idle for months. No one at the department seemed to mind having him around though.
"For a while, Lutri was like our mascot," said Pasquariello. "He lived in our building, he was our friend, people took him for walks, looked after him, played with him, fed him. Actually, at one point, he got too fat for his vest."
He went up for adoption in 2014, and AST picked him up for their Ketchikan post. There Lutri was used to help interdict large drug trafficking coming into Alaska from Outside on the ferry system. According to troopers, he helped sniff out more than 340 grams of heroin, 1800 grams of meth, some 80 pounds of marijuana, plus pills, mushrooms, and other drugs. Along with the narcotics, Lutri's finds helped seize $380,000 in cash.
The Ketchikan post and the handler/investigator who kept Lutri after his retirement declined requests for comment about their loyal companion's work and final years.
Pasquariello said DPD got to see their old buddy one more time after he left.
"A couple years after Lutri moved to the Ketchikan State Troopers, he came up and was searching a boat in the harbor. It was kind of neat, getting to see him again, it seemed like he recognized members of the police department."