SPARTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. — The Kent County Sheriff’s Office has announced the passing of one of their K-9s.
We’re told Axel died in the line of duty while tracking a home invasion suspect in Sparta on Saturday afternoon.
The home invasion reportedly occurred in the area of Glen Park Court and Country View Drive.
The sheriff’s office explains the suspect made off into a nearby wooded area, adding Axel began tracking the suspect when he had a medical emergency. He was transported to the Animal Emergency Hospital where he then died, authorities say.
"The entire Kent County Sheriff’s Office is heartbroken," says Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young. "A K9 is a partner to their handler and an incredibly special member of our KCSO family. We will forever be grateful for Axel’s service to the residents of Kent County."
We’re told a procession was held from Plainfield Avenue to Cedar Springs, where Axel’s personal veterinarian is located at Cedar Animal Hospital. Multiple agencies participated in the procession, including the Grand Rapids Police Department, the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office, the Wyoming Police Department, Michigan State Police, and the fire departments for Plainfield Township and Cedar Springs, the sheriff’s office says.
Axel, who we’re told served with KCSO since May 2019, was their only dog specialized in detecting explosives.
The sheriff’s office says they are still investigating the Sparta home invasion but the suspect is likely not a threat to the community.