A retired Redding K9 police officer is recovering after a thief broke into his owner's home and poisoned him Wednesday.
Police say Tarro, a 10-year-old German shepherd, may have intentionally been targeted by the thief who stole several guns from the home.
Redding police K9 unit program manager lieutenant Brian Barner said Tarro served six years on the force before retiring and being adopted by his handler officer Ryan Ellis nearly two years ago.
“We were sad to see him retire,” Barner said. “But our hope was that he would have a good retirement. He deserved that.”
And that would have been the case, if Tarro hadn’t been poisoned.
“When officers went to the scene the dog was having some issues, actually kind of some seizure issues,” Barner said. “So they immediately rushed him to Asher.”
Tarro was kept at the pet hospital overnight and released Thursday morning.
Communities for Police Canines, an organization that helps raise money to purchase K9 officers for Redding Police is helping foot the bill for Tarro's care.
“Tarro's retired,” founder Kelli Hamilton said. “He no longer works for the Redding Police Department. So he's no longer under the care of that department. And so that's where we pick up the slack. And so that's why we're her today.”
Tarro's owner was not available, but those close to the family say this has been a very difficult time.
“You know, not only was his house burglarized and that event happening,” Barner said. “But on top of that to have somebody intentionally try to kill your police dog that was your partner for six years. So he has a lot of emotions going on.”
Hamilton says these dogs are like a part of the families they work with.
“These handlers take these dogs home,” Hamilton said. “When I talked to Ryan last night, you know that's tough for him. For them to come into his home and cause this to happen, um, yeah it causes me to tear up. It causes me to be hurt.”
She says she finds it hard to comprehend why anyone would target an animal like Tarro for no good reason.
“So I just hope that these people are caught and that this insanity stops,” Hamilton said.
Police are asking anyone who may have any information regarding this crime to contact them at (530) 225-4200.
Shasta Secret Witness is also offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect.