A community in Erie County, New York, has been put on alert after a retired K9 went missing Monday night.
Haso, an 8-year-old sable German shepherd, retired in 2020 when marijuana was legalized in New York. Before then, the K9 spent four glorious years with the Erie County Sheriff’s Office where he saved many lives, including tracking an elderly man with dementia and helping in many arrests.
“Haso has done a lot of good in his life, and he doesn’t even know how good he is,” Deputy Richard Lundberg, the dog’s former handler and current owner, told The Buffalo News.
“There’s a minimum of eight people who wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for him.”
Lundberg lives in Cattaraugus County, and his property backs up to hundreds of acres of woods full of smells and critters — any active dog’s dream paradise.
On Monday night, Lundberg let Haso out at 7:45 p.m. before going into the garage for a few minutes. When he came back out of the garage, Haso had disappeared.
It wasn’t an entirely unusual occurrence: The lively dog is known to chase chipmunks to the neighbor’s yard and sometimes goes on self-guided tours of the area — but he is always back by morning, ready for the most important meal of the day.
Lundberg became concerned when Haso did not show up the next morning. Reviewing security camera footage, he found that the dog had darted off after something and disappeared into the woods.
Because of the extensive wilderness, searching for Haso on foot would be an exercise in futility. Lundberg and others have searched near and far on ATVs, canvassing the forest, leaving articles of Lundberg’s clothing to try to attract Haso and setting up trail cameras.
Haso is microchipped, but he was not wearing a collar at the time, as Lundberg removes it when he’s in his kennel, so it doesn’t catch on anything.
As Lundberg continues searching for his four-legged companion, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office has notified locals of the missing dog.
“Help locate a missing retired ECSO K9,” they posted on Facebook. “On April 25, at approximately 8:15 p.m. Haso took off after an animal in the area of Ashford Hollow Road and Route 240 in the Town of Ashford.”
“Also, please use caution around Haso. He is a great dog, but remember he is a retired police dog.”
Lundberg has two major concerns: one, that Haso is so friendly he’d go along with a stranger, and two (every missing pet owner’s fear), that his dog is trapped or dead.
“My two chief concerns are that he’s stuck somewhere or deceased, or someone has him and doesn’t know who he is and what he is,” Lundberg said.
“This isn’t how his chapter is supposed to close.”