Washoe County Sheriff’s Office K9 Zak died of natural causes Sunday in the presence of Deputy James McNeill, his handler for ten years.
Zak was an eleven-year-old black and tan German Shepherd who began working with the Sheriff’s Office in 2001. His hard work and dedication were demonstrated daily through his work as a dual-purpose dog certified in patrol and narcotics functions. These skills led to numerous apprehensions and narcotics-related arrests. K9 Zak and Deputy McNeill were assigned to the Jail Division until October of 2004 where they both were assigned to Reno Patrol. In January 2005 K9 Zak and Deputy McNeill began their tenure as resident Deputies in Gerlach, Nevada and together they patrolled over 5,000 square miles together until being re-assigned back to Reno Patrol in May 2010.
“Zak will definitely be missed at the Sheriff’s Office. Zak, like my other service dogs, was one of the humble heroes willing to go places which were not safe even for my deputies. His presence will certainly be missed.” Sheriff Mike Haley said.
Deputy McNeill and Zak have been partners for ten years. K9 Zak recently retired in January 2011, and passed of congestive heart failure. Zak was great with children and loved sharing an occasional ice cream with his partner after work. Deputy McNeill said “He would sit with me in the mornings and have coffee and (let me know) if I bounced him around too much in the back of the patrol truck. He brought smiles to hundreds of children. He has touched a lot of lives…especially mine.”