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K-9 Gunny retires from WCSO service

Wakulla County Sheriff Charlie Creel retired K-9 Gunny at a ceremony in the WCSO Emergency Operations Center Friday, Sept. 13. The ceremony included a bone shaped cake, dog biscuits, chevrons for being promoted to sergeant and time to play with his training toys.

Gunny was handled by Lt. Ronald Mitchell and will become a family pet now that he is no longer a service dog. During his career Gunny was trained and certified for search and rescue and narcotics operations. He began working Dec. 31, 2006 and retired on Sept. 13, 2013. His first handler, Sgt. Lorne Whaley was also present at his retirement.

“I could not have asked for a finer animal,” said Lt. Mitchell. “Now we can do things like walk in the park. Things he couldn’t do as a service animal.”

 

Lt. Mitchell took Gunny from Sgt. Whaley in May 2007 after Sgt. Whaley was deployed in the military. Sheriff Creel said the sheriff’s office was “pleased and proud to have Gunny as part of the agency.”

Lt. Mitchell and Gunny were recognized as the 2011-2012 Florida Missing Children’s Day Jimmy Ryce K-9 Trailing Team of the Year after locating a young boy who was lost in a wooded area near Wakulla Beach Road and Obediah Triplett Road in the coastal area of Crawfordville. Gov. Rick Scott presented Gunny with the award at a ceremony in Tallahassee.

Another proud moment for Lt. Mitchell was when Gunny helped locate an elderly Alzheimer’s patient who walked away from her home during a cold winter night. “There is no doubt in my mind that she would have perished that night,” Lt. Mitchell said of the victim.

“Finding missing people was the reward,” said Mitchell. “My time with Gunny has been a highlight in my career. Being a handler is very demanding but I feel honored to have served with him. We’re real proud of his career.”

 

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