Baro, the town police department’s German shepherd, who was retired from service recently due to health problems, died on Tuesday, June 25, while under medical care at Newtown Veterinary Specialists, police said. According to a statement released by the Town of Newtown on June 26, Baro had “many officers at his side” when he died Tuesday afternoon.
Lieutenant George Sinko, the department’s patrol operations commander, said in a statement that the dog, which had been retired from service on June 5 due to an unforeseen medical condition, died at about 5 pm on June 25.
“K-9 [Officer Felicia Figol], who was Baro’s handler, had adopted Baro after his retirement and was caring for him since June 5,” Lt Sinko said. The male dog was about 10 years old when he was retired.
“Baro took a turn for the worse, prompting Ofc Figol to take him to Newtown Veterinary Specialists on June 25. Baro was not able to recover and passed away,” the lieutenant added.
“The Newtown Police Department and all its members are saddened by this sad turn of events. Baro had served the department faithfully since 2005 and will be greatly missed,” Lt Sinko said in the brief statement.
Police acquired Baro in October 2004, and after being trained in law enforcement tasks, he was “sworn in” by then Town Clerk Cindy Simon in April 2005.
Before his medical problems were diagnosed, it had been anticipated that Baro would provide police with another 12 to 18 months of service.
Police have said they are working with their K-9 partners to acquire a new dog and continue with their police dog program.
Police expect that between $12,000 and $20,000 would be needed to cover the costs of acquiring a new dog and providing training.
During the time that Newtown police are without their own dog, they will rely on neighboring towns such as Monroe, Brookfield, Bethel, Seymour, and Danbury, as well as the state police, to assist with any dog-related calls.
After assisting with numerous arrests involving narcotics, as well as locating lost and missing persons, Baro earned a well-deserved rest, Lt Sinko had said on the dog’s recent retirement.
At a recent Police Commission session, Police Chief Michael Kehoe said that when considering the projected working life of a police dog, town police have been planning to replace Baro with another dog.
Ofc Figol will continue working as the police department’s dog handler when a new animal is acquired, the chief added.
Former patrol officer Andrew Stinson was Baro’s first handler.
Before Baro, the police department had not had a dog for more than 20 years.
Baro got his initial training in the Czech Republic, receiving police dog-command training in the German language.
“Baro was a dedicated member of the department and beloved by everyone,” the June 26 statement from the Town of Newtown said. “He so enjoyed being in the station with the officers and knew where his treats were kept. He would push the Chief’s door open and poke his head in. Everyone loved to take a Baro break. Baro was tough on the job and a gentle dog when off duty.
“His loud bark, that would echo through the building, will be very much missed,” the statement continued. “Our condolences go to Baro’s K9 Handler, Officer Figol, and the whole department.”