(WRIC/WFXR) — The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) is mourning the loss of a four-legged officer just months after his retirement.
DGIF announced on Monday, May 11 that K9 Justice — a nine-year veteran of the department’s Conservation Police K9 program — passed away after a bout with cancer. The 10-year-old black Labrador retriever retired from service on Jan. 22.
Senior CPO Wayne Billhimer was partnered with Justice since 2011, and Justice even served as the ring-bearer when Billhimer married his wife, Molly. The couple adopted Justice and cared for him during his retirement and treatment.
“It’s hard to put into words, the bond we shared. He was part of my family,” Billhimer said. “He was truly my best friend, who I, fortunately, got to take to work with me.”
The pair worked together on evidence detection, suspect tracking, missing person searches, wildlife violation identification, public outreach, and even a lip sync challenge.
Click here to read more on K9 Justice’s accolades.
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