ELYRIA — The last German shepherd police dog for the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office retired Wednesday.
Jony joined his handler, Lorain County Corrections Officer Jeffrey Fide, at the county commissioners meeting for his send-off after seven years of service. The 9-year-old dog has worked with Fide, mostly in searching for narcotics at the jail and showing force when necessary for inmates.
The dog will live out its retirement years with Fide and his family. Fide does not plan on taking on another police dog immediately, as he and his wife are expecting a child.
“At this point I’m just grateful for the opportunity to do this and I again thank you for allowing me to take this journey,” he said.
The age for a police dog to retire varies on the condition and breed, but Fide said Jony’s health was at risk due to his large size, according to a veterinarian’s evaluation.
Sheriff’s Capt. Jack Hammond said Jony was the last German shepherd for the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office. The office has transitioned to Malinois dog breeds, which Hammond said are lighter, more agile and have fewer health issues. The breed looks similar to German shepherds, and the department has six on staff.
Fide will work as a corrections officer supervising inmates for the time being. He said that it will definitely be different for him working without Jony by his side. Regardless, he’ll see his former partner every day he comes home and will continue doing what he loves.
“This chapter of my career is coming to a close, but my career here at the Sheriff’s Office is far from over, and I’m really excited to see what the next chapter is going to be,” he said.