Customs and Border Protection officers bid farewell to fallen canine comrade
Published: September 21, 2013
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ST. CROIX - Customs and Border Protection officers paused for a moment Thursday to remember one of their four-legged partners who died early last week.
Customs spokesman Jeffrey Quiñones said Customs and Border Protection's mission to protect the homeland is enhanced by the skill and dedication of its four-legged partners, the CBP K-9s.
"CBP K-9s train and work side-by-side with their handlers, as a special bond of trust forms between them and they become a team," he said. "Last week, the San Juan Office of Field Operations Canine Unit team suffered a great loss, when CBP Narcotic Detector dog Kyra passed away during the early hours of the morning while in her kennel."
Quiñones said Kyra's handler, K-9 Officer Glenn Rogers, went to pick her up early in the morning on September 6 to start their regular work day, when he found her.
He said it was shocking, because just the day before, on her last shift, Kyra had located 135.5 pounds of marijuana concealed in cans, a detection that resulted in one arrest.
Quiñones did not know what caused Kyra's death and said he assumed it was natural causes.
The dog was a much-beloved part of the San Juan Field Operations Canine Unit, which currently has 18 K-9s, 15 assigned to ports in Puerto Rico and three to U.S. Virgin Islands ports, he said.
Quiñones said Kyra was assigned to the territory since September 2009 and was the last addition to the territory's K-9 family, which has two other canines at work - Castro and Karo.
"In the USVI alone, the CBP-OFO K-9 teams had detected approximately 38 pounds of cocaine, 360 pounds of marijuana and $500,000 in concealed currency since the USVI K-9 unit began in May 2007," Quiñones said. "Aside from being a great friend, Kyra was a productive K-9, having worked many multi-agency operations, as well as finding numerous amounts of narcotics over the course of her working career."
Quiñones said Kyra was described by her handler as being always vibrant, full of life and ready to play.
"I will always remember her sitting next to me and forcing her head into my leg. She would not stop doing this until I rubbed her head and played with her ears," Rogers said. "She was always in search of affection and showed it in her own hyper and crazy way, and I am really going to miss her."
Following a brief ceremony, a motorcade of Customs and Border Protection vehicles and officers left Progressive Veterinary Hospital in La Grande Princesse on Thursday morning, then travelled to Rohlsen Airport, where a ceremony was conducted in the Customs and Border Protection Training Room.
Quiñones said Kyra will be greatly missed by the Customs and Border Protection family and by the San Juan Office of Field Operations Canine Unit.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email email@example.com.