On the morning of March 27th, 2014, Asheville Police Department Patrol K-9 Diego passed away at his handler’s residence. Diego had recently undergone surgery to remove tumors from his abdominal area. He recovered from the extensive surgery and was briefly released back to full-duty. An autopsy concluded that Diego died from complications from the surgery.
Diego was a nine year old Belgian Malinois, who was born the Holland Region of the Netherlands and was brought to the U.S. at a young age to begin his career as a police service dog. He joined the Asheville Police Department in July, 2007 and quickly became an asset to the department and the community he served. Diego was trained as a multi-purpose service dog, specializing in narcotics detection, tracking, article search and criminal apprehension.
Throughout his tenure at APD, he was attributed with finding nearly $100,000 in cash, over 115 pounds of marijuana, nearly 8 pounds of cocaine and a pound of methamphetamine. He was also a proven tracking dog, successfully locating several criminals and missing persons. Diego also spent many hours showcasing his abilities at local schools, churches and other public events.
Diego was the epitome of a working dog. He loved every minute while on duty and often pouted when it was time to quit. Diego was a tenacious and dedicated member of the Asheville Police Department and loyal friend and partner to Officer Tanner Rhinehart.