Animal dies under odd circumstances, sheriff looking for replacement
Plans for the town of Indian Trail to use a canine unit as part of its law enforcement program have been delayed, after the death of the original dog. The town was informed March 29 that a dog had been donated to the Union County Sheriff’s Office, which when trained would be used by the town’s contract deputies as part of a canine unit. Before its’ training was complete however, the 11-month old dog, named Nitro, was found dead last month, in his pen.
“The dog had some medical problems,” Captain Cody Luke, with the Sheriff’s Office, said. “There were several abnormal traits the dog had exhibited, he would chew on his own tail, chew on wood, he wouldn’t play with toys.”
Nitro, was to be used as a tracker in missing persons cases, as well as to search for narcotics. Having equipment already on hand with the sheriff’s office, in addition to an arrangement in place for food, will eliminate any expense to the town. He lived with his handler, Indian Trail contract deputy Kenneth Sossoman.
Earlier in the day, Sossoman had taken him to the deputy’s off duty job and reported the dog was energetic. Then he took Nitro home, fed and watered the dog, before putting him in his pen after 4:30 p.m. He left Nitro with his wife, before going to the gym.
Capt. Luke said neighbors reported the animal was chewing on the wood decking outside and seemed to be exhibiting symptoms of separation anxiety now that Sossoman was away.
An hour later when the deputy’s wife went to go check on Nitro, she found the 11-year-old lying unresponsive in the pen.
The sheriff’s office concluded there was no mistreatment of the animal and it’s still unclear what exactly killed him. Officers found wood chips in his mouth, making them believe as he chewed on the decking, a piece was lodged in the throat.
There are currently three other dogs assigned to patrol by the Union County Sheriff’s Office. Additionally, the department has one dedicated to Union County schools and another on reserve. Both Luke and Sheriff Cathey said they hoped to have a dog in place within the month to replace Nitro on the unit. A dog has been selected and the handler is currently training with him, with the expectation around September the new dog will be ready to go.