An Eastern Cape police dog who had apprehended almost 50 suspects and helped recover stolen goods worth more than R1 million has lost its battle with cancer.
Provincial police spokesperson Captain Mali Govender described Bonzo as an inquisitive dog full of vigour and energy.
“He brought immense joy to those around him. His potential to serve the SAPS was noticed at an early age and thus he was donated to the SAPS from a Port Alfred resident.
“During the six years that Bonzo worked with his handler, he apprehended 49 fleeing or hiding suspects and due to his actions, stolen property to the value of R1,025,900 was recovered.
“Despite being kicked and attacked by his suspects, he always managed a successful arrest. He also apprehended two abalone poachers who were hiding high up in the dunes and recovered abalone to the value of R51,600 and diving gear valued at approximately R40,000.”
Govender said Bonzo was withdrawn from duty due to medical reasons. The process of boarding started in January and on February 4, Bonzo officially retired.
He was 11 years old.
His handler purchased him to retire at home. He had a long history of gastric problems which made him tire easily; however, he was always eager to be on the beat and fight crime. He always gave off his best, Govender said.
On Friday, his family noticed that he was unwell; he had difficulty lying down and standing up. He was not able to ingest anything. He was taken to a vet and was diagnosed with a growth on his pancreas.
The veterinarian suggested the removal of the pancreas to prevent the cancer from spreading. When she operated on Bonzo, she discovered that his body was riddled with cancer and all of his organs were affected. There was nothing she could do for him and he was in severe pain.
She then stitched his wound and woke him up so that his family could spend some time with him and bid him farewell before she euthanised him.
“This was one of the saddest days of my life. Bonzo was not just my partner, he was a hero and a true friend, I will miss him,” said an emotional Warrant Officer Tertius Neethling.
Cluster Commander Brigadier Morgan Govender said: “Farewell, brave colleague. You were a warrior and loyal to the SAPS. You will always be remembered for your courage loyalty and dedication. It’s your time to rest. We will miss you!”