LOUISA, VA (WWBT) – The Louisa Sheriff's Office is mourning one of its own; she is the first K-9 killed in the line of duty in that county. Seven-year-old Maggie died after a pit bull attacked her during a search Saturday morning.
Maggie was more than a dog and more than a county employee. She was a member of a family. She started her training as a search and rescue and criminal K-9 with the Louisa Sheriff's Office when she was just a puppy and before Saturday worked almost 400 cases.
After six years, Saturday morning would be Maggie the Bloodhound's last mission as a part of the Louisa County K-9 Unit.
"She's a deputy just like anyone else," explained her handler Lt. Patrick Sheridan. "She's a member of our team. She'll be greatly missed and we will miss her forever."
The department got a call a person tried to commit suicide and ran into the woods. Lt. Sheridan and Maggie were part of the team trying to locate him.
They were approaching the woods line near Ferncliff Road when that suicidal person's pit bull attacked. Maggie's wounds appeared to be superficial but it turned out to be much worse. The pit bull had transferred an infection, from which she would never recover. Monday morning she went into cardiac arrest.
"It's a partner," Sheridan said. "It's my friend and I loved her. You deal with that but you focus on her needs and you don't want her to suffer."
Maggie, like many police canines, leaves behind a legacy of cracking cases and doing good deeds. She helped find an arsonist who set fire to a Louisa church, worked several bank robberies, found missing people and even visited kids at every elementary school in the county.
"They give everything to serve people for a pat on the head, love, a dog treat, a dog toy and they're very instrumental parts of every law enforcement agency," Sheridan told NBC12. "They serve the community well."
The pit bull is in police custody. The Louisa Sheriff's Office said it is investigating the circumstances surrounding the attack, including whether the dog was intentionally released or escaped from its owner. It is pursuing any charges it can press.