Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Paws-itive partnership

'Superdog,' officer calling it a day after 10 years as a crime-fighting team

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Patrol Sgt. Scott Taylor is carrying police service dog Judge in his arms as he trudges through several feet of water, searching for a man who just kidnapped and raped a 16-year-old girl.

They're the only two on the ground near Portage la Prairie and AIR1 helicopter is circling above. The police have been chasing the man for the past three hours.

The man is allegedly armed and Taylor is worried for Judge's safety but knows the dog can get them out of any situation. And he does.

The Belgian Malinois swims forward and bites the fugitive in the face, putting an end to the manhunt that covered more than 100 kilometres.

"It was almost right out of the movies. It almost seemed unbelievable," Taylor said Tuesday, looking back on the June 2011 incident.

The 11-year-old dog has been slowing down, and Taylor doesn't want to continue in his position on the police team without him.

"In our world, you won't find any partnership that's 10 years. It just doesn't happen. I've worked with him for 10 years so he's very important to me, which is why I'm retiring now."

Thursday will mark the last time the crime-fighting duo will hit the streets before Taylor switches to investigations and leaves Weeman, as Taylor affectionately calls him, at home.

"It's going to be hard for him to see me go every day, and it's going to be hard for me not to take him."

Judge and Taylor have made more than 500 tracking arrests.

The Winnipeg Police Service called the pair one of the most successful canine teams in the unit's history.

Taylor raised Judge since he was a pup and has noticed the once excitable dog has grown tired.

"On a slow night two years ago, he would be intolerable to be in the car with. He would whine and pace and pace for 12 hours. He would never stop," said Taylor.

"In the last three, four or five months he sleeps all night," he said.

"He's been superdog to me, and in the last while you can see where age has caught up to him."

Since Judge is so good at his job, the police team wants to keep his genetics alive.

Judge has sired 41 pups and his specimen is frozen. He's the father of six dogs working in the Winnipeg Police K-9 Unit and a seventh dog that's starting training next week.

danelle.cloutier@freepress.mb.ca

What's a dog going to do with a gold watch? What retirement present do you think is appropriate for Judge? Join the conversation in the comments below.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 16, 2014 B1

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