Paw-sing for retirement: Andy’s duty is finished

PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE Sgt. Jake DeMonte and Andy have been a team since March 2012. Andy is retired as of 7 a.m. Sunday.

Tiffin Police Department’s canine is paw-sing for retirement.

After 6 1/2 years of serving the city of Tiffin, K9 Andy now is retired as of 7 a.m. Sunday.

Andy, a Belgian Malinois, was used for 560 calls — including 170 call-outs while off duty — and gave 63 public demonstrations. Also, Andy’s involvement assisted in the filing of about 300 criminal charges.

Sgt. Jake DeMonte, Andy’s handler, said Andy’s focuses were narcotics, tracking, building search, apprehension and article search. He is especially good at tracking people and finding drugs and seemed to enjoy tracking a lot, DeMonte said.

He said he didn’t think he had a single problem with Andy alerting to drugs falsely.

“In training, he would find anything,” he said.

DeMonte said he would describe Andy as energetic, intelligent, loyal, dependable and healthy for his career.

“He is well-trained. … He’s low maintenance,” he said.

DeMonte previously handled Tommy, who died from lymphoma in February 2012. Within a month, Andy became the police department’s newest canine.

Andy was named after Andy Baldridge, a State Highway Patrol trooper, and Andrew Dunn, a Sandusky Police Department officer, who died in the line of duty.

Previous Tiffin Police Department canines were Cora, 1990-1995; Fritz, 1995-2001; Rex, 2001-2007; and Tommy, 2007-2012; and previous handlers were Mike Marquis, 1990-1997; Dave Horn, 1997-2004; and Joe Feld, 2004-2007.

Andy’s retirement marks DeMonte’s last stint as a canine handler for the police department. DeMonte had been a canine handler for the department for 11 1/2 years and assisted with an internship for a Heidelberg University student who now works for Clyde Police Department and handles a dog.

“It’s my decision to stop being the handler. … I know I’ll miss it,” he said.

DeMonte said it has not been decided who the new handler will be. There is to be another dog, but the new dog also has not been selected. He said he is hoping it will be sometime next year.

The canine kennel and heating system are going to be removed from the current cruiser, which would become a fleet vehicle. The new handler is to be given a newer vehicle with current equipment, DeMonte said.

Andy now is DeMonte’s pet. DeMonte said he is purchasing Andy from the city for $1, which is set by state law.