Wellington police mourn 'patriarch' of dog squad

Ike the police dog.
Ike the police dog. Photo credit: New Zealand Police.

Police are mourning the death of the "patriarch of the Wellington Dog Section" after he passed away on Monday.

Ike was 13-years-old, and had been retired from active duty since 2016. His long career as a police dog saw him tracking and catching offenders.

One particularly dramatic night-time clifftop rescue at Makara Beach - where a camper had fallen from the cliff - earned Ike's handler, Junior Douglas, a Royal Humane Society Bronze Medal.

"Ike probably got a bone," wrote police on Facebook.

Despite retiring in 2016, Ike frequently visited schools and community groups, Police open days and Pride Parades in Auckland and Wellington.

"Aside from their operational success together, Junior taught Ike several tricks which delighted kids and crowds at open days," police wrote. "RIP Ike."

The emotional post on Facebook has drawn dozens of heartfelt condolence messages from the public.

"RIP Ike. You can now have a well-deserved rest, chasing butterflies instead of criminals. Your portfolio is filled with your achievements throughout your life and you have done your handlers proud for sure," wrote one woman.

"Run free Ike, chase them baddies over the rainbow bridge, paws up to a job well done," said another.

"Good dog. Your new recruits have got it from here. Officer Ike off duty."