Thanks to MyWestTexas.com for this article.
Officials say K-9s are more than just dogs, they’re partners
ANDREWS — The relationship between a pet and it’s owner is immeasurable. But for an officer and their K-9, “you can multiply that by a thousand.” That is how Deputy Mark Greenhaw of the Andrews County Sheriff’s Office describes his relationship with his partner, Pinto.
“When you have a dog that stands between you and the meanest person you’ve ever seen, with no hesitation, that’s a partner,” Greenhaw said. “I don’t think there could be any closer relationship.”
Greenhaw said that after a loss, police dogs are able to be provided “pretty quickly.” But Greenhaw, who also lost a K-9 in the line of duty in June of 2004, said though many people have tried to donate money to the Sheriff’s Office for a new dog, and the trainer who paired Greenhaw and Pinto has offered to give him another dog, the hold-up is on him.
“I’m still grieving for Pinto,” he said.
During an interview with the Reporter-Telegram, Greenhaw could count down to the minute the moment his partner passed away. “Today is a week, well, coming up in 2 1/2 hours,” he said.
Born on June 2, 2001, Pinto was trained in Slovakia before joining the Andrews County Sheriff’s Office in 2003 and becoming Greenhaw’s partner and part of his family. “When you figure up the (man hours saved) and the number of criminals seized, these dogs are probably the cheapest officers you can put on the street,” Greenhaw said. “All they ask for is a little food, water and a tennis ball.”
Officials said that 11 miles north of Andrews on Highway 385 on Dec. 15, a subject that had been taken into custody and placed in Greenhaw’s car was somehow able to get his hands in front of him, got around the safety system in the car and drove away. A chase began and the suspect wrecked the car. Pinto and the suspect were thrown from the vehicle. Pinto was killed.
“They teach you and teach you at the K-9 academy to trust your dog. You have to count on them,” he said.
Even though dogs may be raised to be police dogs, Greenhaw said they don’t necessarily become part of the department. “They go through rigorous training, but a vast majority of them wash out. There are very few (dogs) who can handle the stress,” he said. “Some are not brave enough. I’d say only 5 percent of dogs tested make it.”
Greenhaw said the Sheriff’s Office paid $7,500 for Pinto, but that was a small price to pay for a partner of Pinto’s caliber. “Over his career, he has paid for himself time and time again. He took thousands upon thousands of drugs off the streets.”