PINEVILLE, Ky. (WATE) - A Bell County, Kentucky police dog was killed Sunday evening after he was struck by a car during a traffic stop.
Bell County Deputy James Taulbee and his police dog, Kane, were called to a traffic stop on U.S. 25E in Bell County, Kentucky. According to the Bell County Sheriff's Department, when Taulbee and Kane arrived at the scene, Kane indicated he smelled drugs in the car. Taulbee rewarded the dog with his ball and put him back inside is patrol car.
After the driver of the vehicle, 38-year-old Romero Norris, of Louisville, was arrested, Kentucky State Police troopers began searching his car. During their search, they found a crystal rock-like substance, a green leafy substance, digital scales, several glass smoking pipes and various other items of drug paraphernalia.
Taulbee brought Kane back out to do a detailed search of the car, and Kane indicated he smelled something on the front right fender. When Taulbee went to reward Kane with his ball, Kane struck the ball with his nose, causing it to bounce off the suspect's car and into traffic. Kane lunged after the ball into the roadway and was struck by oncoming traffic.
Kane was rushed to an area animal hospital where he died on Sunday night.
Sheriff Mitch Williams placed Taulbee on paid leave for the next few days, stressing the bound between a handler and K-9 goes above and beyond what many realize.
"The handler and his partner, it's a bond you can't describe. They are together 24/7," said Sheriff Williams. "They depend on each other for safety companionship."
Williams said Kane has only been with the department since September but had already helped in numerous situations, including a meth bust the day before he died.
"He was such a young dog and was doing so good. We noticed in the past few weeks he really broke out of his shell. He had exceptional ability and we were excited about that," said Williams.
Kane assisted in drug investigations, drug searches in schools and many other tasks. Williams said he will be sorely missed.
"Just keep us in your prayers. Deputy Taulbee is having a hard time and we grieve for him. We are going to stand there for him," said Sheriff Williams.