On Friday, Oct. 16 at 2 p.m., the sacrifices of law enforcement dogs in Virginia will be remembered in a ceremony and memorial dedication on the campus of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech.

The Commonwealth of Virginia’s hundreds of law enforcement dogs work to locate drugs, alert to explosives, and help apprehend criminals. They stand ready to put their lives on the line to protect those of their handlers and the citizens of the commonwealth. Over the past 47 years, twelve dogs have died in the line of duty.

“The most common image of a dog is as a companion animal and beloved member of the family,” says Dr. Gerhardt Schurig, dean of the veterinary college. “While this is certainly true, we must also remember the many contributions they make to society as working and service animals. Veterinary medicine plays an important part in this process by ensuring the health of these animals. We are honored to partner with Virginia’s law enforcement community on this memorial.”

The memorial consists of a life-size bronze German Shepherd police dog sculpted by Blacksburg artist Larry Bechtel, creator of the noted “Officer Down” statue installed in front of the Roanoke City Police Department, the Addison Caldwell statue at Virginia Tech, and several other major installations.

Located adjacent to the main entrance of the college’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital, it will be installed upon a granite base that will denote the names of law enforcement dogs that have lost their lives in the line of duty in Virginia.

An estimated 100 K-9 officers and their dogs from departments located in cities and counties across the state are expected to attend the event. The keynote speaker will be Virginia Attorney General Bill Mims. Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger will also present remarks.

The public is welcomed and encouraged to attend.

Directions and parking information: From I-81, take Exit 118-B, towards Blacksburg (US-460); continue to follow US-460 to first stoplight; turn right onto Southgate Drive; turn left at first stoplight; veterinary complex will be on your left. Parking attendants will be present to guide guests to appropriate lots.


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