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The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has said goodbye to Thor, a police dog and six-year veteran of the department.

Thor, a 7 1/2-year-old German shepherd from Slovakia, was euthanized Dec. 28 because of kidney issues, Sheriff Dave Marshak said.

The dog had been partnered with Cpl. Jason Clardy since November 2013.

“Thor was a member of our family and was loved by many,” Marshak said. “He had a great disposition and performed with distinction throughout his time with us. We are honored to have known Thor, and I feel confident sharing that Thor’s time with Clardy was also one of respect and love. Thor will be missed.”

Marshak said Thor had many accomplishments and was used in several SWAT operations.

The German shepherd once discovered items used in a bank robbery, which led to a suspect confessing to the crime, Marshak said.

Thor also played an important role in saving a man’s life.

“A suicidal male fled his residence into the woods, and the family called for deputies as they were concerned the male was suicidal,” Marshak said. “Thor was successful in tracking through the woods, where the deputies located the subject hanging from a tree. They freed him, and he lived because of Thor’s fine work.”

Marshak said Clardy and Thor grew close during their time together, and Thor also was close with Clardy’s family.

“The bond between a canine and the handler is incredibly strong,” Marshak said. “Unlike the significant bond with pets, the bond is stronger when their work time is spent together as well. Additionally, the canine will be exposed to the handler’s family, and an additional bond is created there.”

Following Thor’s death, the Sheriff’s Office now has five K-9 officers; four are dual-purpose police dogs and one is a bloodhound, Marshak said.

He said the Sheriff’s Office plans to get at least one new police dog this year, although a second one could be added.

“Canine officers play a vital role to the success of the Sheriff’s Office and our community,” Marshak said. “Our canines have located missing persons, suicidal subjects, wanted persons, and have been used to apprehend violent felons.

“Moreover, canine demonstrations allow for an extra opportunity for officers to interact with children and the community.”

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