As arrangements for Chico, the Denton County Sheriff’s Office’s only K-9, are being made, the area law enforcement community is in mourning.
Chico, a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois, was killed with a shotgun by a property owner in an unincorporated part of Collin County one day after he was reported missing to the Wylie Police Department by his handler, Matt Rollins.
“He was shot the afternoon of [Dec. 21] when a property owner took Chico as a threat to his chickens,” said Sgt. Larry Kish, a sheriff’s office spokesman. “The property owner is not facing any charges, as he has a right in Texas to defend his livestock.”
The sheriff’s office has nearly concluded its investigation and has no reason to suspect foul play, Kish said.
“We were only basically investigating since he was lost-and-found county property,” he said.
Chico first went missing from his handler on Dec. 20, when a cold front and high winds blew through North Texas.
Rollins was not fired because of the incident, Kish said.
“He was just not rehired when the new administration took over,” he said.
Upon learning officials were going door to door looking for a missing dog that fit the description of the dog he had recently buried, the property owner let sheriff’s investigators know last week he had shot Chico.
“There were no badges, vests or collars on Chico at the time he was shot,” Kish said.
A memorial service honoring Chico will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Denton County Sheriff’s Office Administration Building, 127 N. Woodrow Lane. Law enforcement officers and the public are welcome.
Flowers and cards can be sent to the Denton County Sheriff’s Office Administration Building, 127 N. Woodrow Lane, Denton, TX 76205 and donations can be made to the Denton County Law Enforcement Association at P.O. Box 1794 Denton, TX 76202 in the name of Chico.
“All donations made to the Denton County Law Enforcement Association will be presented in one lump sum at the Commissioners Court for approval to give back to the Sheriff’s Office so we can buy a headstone, memorial or whatever is best decided for Chico,” Kish said.
Chico’s final resting place is currently undecided, but it will be on county property.
“He was an officer and will be treated like a human being; he is one of us, and it’s just a very emotional time for everyone involved,” Kish said.
MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .