The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is mourning the loss of one of its own.
The department said in a news release Saturday that retired K-9 Deputy Sheriff Sergeant Duak had to be euthanized after undergoing failed treatment at a local animal hospital for what was described by his last handler and caregiver, Deputy Sheriff Harley Herron, as an ongoing battle and complications with his urinary tract.
Before being retired and removed from service on March 4, 2011, at the age of 10 because of his ailing heath and age, Sergeant Duak, a Belgium Malawa who was nicknamed “Midnight,” served with the sheriff’s department for five years. According to the department’s news release, Sergeant Duak particularly excelled in narcotics searches and the apprehension of fleeing suspects during his tour of duty.
“Sergeant Duak’s speed, agility, intelligence, bravery, and commitment was unmatched,” Sheriff’s Office Operations Commander Major Lafayette Woods Jr. said in the news release. “He never backed down from a fight, even after being shot with an arrow propelled from a bow utilized by a Jefferson County man after Sergeant Duak managed to escaped from his kennel on Oct. 11, 2005. Sergeant Duak healed quicker than expected and returned back to work.”
Herron, who was Sergeant Duak’s last handler and caregiver after being retired, said he could tell Sergeant Duak’s death had affected his family, particularly his wife who also looked after him.
Herron said that beyond what Sergeant Duak meant to the sheriff’s office and citizens of Jefferson County, Sergeant Duak also leaves behind a hole in his heart.
“Especially when I wake up in the morning and I’m faced with the reality of knowing that he’s no longer with us,” Herron said.
The sheriff’s office says it’s planning to collect donations for a plaque in remembrance of Sergeant Duak, which will be displayed in the sheriff’s administrative office.
Donations may be sent to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office care of Major Lafayette Woods, Jr. at 101 E. Barraque Street, Suite 112, Pine Bluff, AR 71601. Checks should be made payable to Southeast Arkansas Engravers Incorporated, with the words “Sheriff K-9 Duak’s Memorial” in the memo section.