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Retired Martins Ferry K-9 Ecko Crosses The Rainbow Bridge

Photo Provided K-9 Ecko, a retired police dog for Martins Ferry, poses for a photo. Ecko died Sunday after a battle with cancer.

The Martins Ferry Police Department is mourning a loss after receiving the news that retired K-9 Ecko died Sunday.

Ecko was 11. Officer John Holmes, Ecko’s owner and former handler, said Ecko passed away peacefully in his arms after a tough battle with cancer. The canine was diagnosed with cancer in late December.

Holmes said Ecko was a great work partner as well as a member of his family.

“He was just the best dog you could ask for,” Holmes said. “He was great at work and he was great at home, he was great with kids. It’s like he had a switch and knew when to shut off the aggressive side. There will never be another dog like him.”

Holmes said Ecko will be sorely missed by his family as well as the police department.

Ecko retired from the department in April 2019 due to a combination of his age and medical issues, including an injury he sustained to his leg. He was 9 1/2 at the time of his retirement.

Ecko served as a police dog for the city for seven years, helping to protect and serve the community. According to previous reports, Ecko helped remove contraband from the streets, apprehend criminals and was a major factor in curbing illegal activity in the area.

Following his retirement, Ecko remained in the company of Holmes and his family who kept him as a pet.

Police Chief John McFarland said Ecko was the greatest canine police officer the department had.

“We lost one of the greatest canine police officers. … He was a fantastic dog. There will never be another one like him,” the chief said.

McFarland said Ecko was a special dog who never bit anyone that he knew of. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him, the chief said.

Ecko was trained by the Police K-9 Association of Canton, Ohio, who have trained dogs for various K-9 teams across the state. The organization took to social media to express condolences about the dog’s death.

“Ecko, we thank you for your dedication to your family, your community and to the PK9A. We will honor your memory for the rest of our days; we will take it from here. Godspeed to the best boy,” the association stated.

The Martins Ferry Police Department currently has one K-9 officer, Linus, who replaced Ecko upon his retirement.

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