Injured Belleville police K-9 forced to retire

News-DemocratJuly 29, 2013 

At the Belleville Police Department, a canine is retiring after two years of duty.

Six-year-old Art suffered a major spinal injury during a routine training exercise when he fell into an unseen hole while running. The Belleville Animal Clinic is treating Art through a pain management program.

Police Chief Bill Clay said Art will probably continue on the pain management program for the rest of his life, making him incapable of working with the department, but he is still able to walk around.

"I thought they were going to have to put him down. It was that bad," Clay said. "He is moving around, so we're happy about that."

Art got his name and position in the department through Art on the Square donations, in conjunction with West Belleville Promotional Committee, both of which funded Art's purchase.

Art will spend retirement with his handler, Officer Brian Dowdy.

Dowdy and Art communicate in a language unfamiliar to most. Art was an immigrant when he began working for the department. The Belgian Malinois only understands commands in French.

In 2011, when Art joined the department, Dowdy said he searched several states before finding Art, and he was the best dog he had seen.

"He really bonded quickly with me within a couple of days," Dowdy said at the time.

Roger Wigginton, co-chair of West Belleville Promotional Committee, said he has heard nothing but good things about Art from Dowdy.

"I understand that he is a fantastic dog. It's hard to replace dogs that are that good," Wigginton said.

Belleville News-Democrat is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service