UCF PD says goodbye to K-9 Buster, welcomes Justice
The UCF Police Department said goodbye to the agency's furry friend Buster, and has welcomed new K-9 Justice on Wednesday.
Justice has been waiting at a veterinarian office and will start official training with UCF PD officer Matt Scott on Monday.
"The work must go on. I am going to get my new dog and we will continue to serve the UCF community. I'm very excited," Scott said.
Due to medical reasons, K-9 Buster, a 21-month-old German shepherd, has been forced into early retirement.
"This is a great opportunity for him to live the rest of his life as a normal dog, which we here at the UCF PD couldn't ask for anything more," Scott said.
When Buster was having difficulty playing with his favorite toy, Scott took him to the vet and discovered he has Temporomandibular Osteoarthritis, or TMJ, in both joints, and has myositis of the jaw, meaning he can't fulfill the duties expected of a full-service dog.
"He loves people, he is very friendly. And Buster, we are going to miss you," said UCF PD deputy chief Carl Metzger.
Although Buster won't be working with UCF PD anymore, he has already been adopted by an Osceola County family who is able to provide for him and his medical requirements.
"We would like to say goodbye to Buster, but it's not a goodbye because I am sure we will have some visits," Metzger said.
Buster has visited the home prior to being adopted, and has met the other dogs the family owns, one of which is a service dog. During the visit, Scott said Buster was acting like a playful puppy again.
"We are just overwhelmed with being able to get such a wonderful dog. We will take care of him, we promise. We are definitely looking forward to our time with Buster," said Ralph Eagen, Buster's new taker.
Buster joined UCF PD in November 2014 and became certified in April after completing 400 hours of training with Scott.
"Buster was doing extraordinarily well in serving the UCF community. Buster was a great dog. He was a fire starter on the road, finding drugs and doing everything right we asked him too. It's just unfortunate he has a medical condition which is very, very rare," Scott said.
During his brief time here, he worked a total of 30 night shifts. And while working those night shifts, Buster had a total of 27 deployments, 24 from narcotics and three full service calls for other agencies, all of which were successful except for one miss.
"But it really does show we do care for our animals and aren't going to let our K-9s work if they are injured. We take very good care of him and he's part of the family," said UCF PD major Randy Mingo.
Buster was purchased with money raised by the community and is still covered under warranty, meaning UCF PD received money toward the purchase of a new dog.
"We did a lot of fundraising to get the animals. We thank our partnership with our community. We are just really glad he's going to a good home," Mingo said.
Bridgette Norris is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @blogginbridge or email her at BridgetteN@CentralFloridaFuture.com.