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Police & Fire

Darien Police K-9 Retires After Cancer Diagnosis

Darien Police Officer Leslie Silva with K-9 Koda.
Darien Police Officer Leslie Silva with K-9 Koda. Photo Credit: Darien Police Department

DARIEN, Conn. -- Darien Police K-9 Grizzly has been retired after just a few months on the job after being diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer.

Grizzly is a 3-and-a-half-year-old chocolate lab who was acquired by the town of Darien in September and placed with his handler, Officer Leslie Silva. The two completed an extensive training program through Superior K9 Services and subsequently received state and national certifications in narcotics detection.

Although Grizzly had been riding with Silva in her patrol car for several months while the two got acquainted, the two officially hit the road as a K-9 team in December. In addition to working patrol with his handler, Grizzly enjoyed visiting local schools, doing public demonstrations and meeting with community members of all ages to educate them about the police department and the K-9 program. In his off time, Grizzly enjoyed spending time at home with his handler and his family, and going for long walks.

In February Grizzly began limping and experiencing regular pain in one of his hind legs. After visiting a local veterinarian and running numerous tests, he was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called Chondrosarcoma. The vet discovered a cancerous tumor which was located in an inoperable area in his hip joint, and the tumor rapidly progressed.

After consultation with the vet, an oncology specialist and several K-9 professionals, it was determined that the best course of action would be to retire Grizzly from service and return him to the care of Frank Reda of Superior K9 Services in an effort to make him as comfortable as possible.

Grizzly and Silva rode their last tour of duty together on Tuesday, April 11.

"This has been a very difficult situation for everyone involved," police said. "K-9 Grizzly was a valuable asset to the Darien Police Department, and he served the community well in the short time he was in service here in Darien. He will be sorely missed."

Grizzly is the third area K-9 this month to be retired due to cancer. Newtown K-9 Saint Michael was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in the first month of April and died on Sunday . Danbury K-9 Koda was diagnosed with a brain tumor the same week and also retired.

Superior K9 Services is working to locate a new K-9 partner for Silva.

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