K9 from Department of Game and Inland Fisheries passes away

K9 from Department of Game and Inland Fisheries passes away
Justice, a 10-year-old black Labrador Retriever, joined DGIF as an officer in 2011 and was partnered with Senior CPO Wayne Billhimer. (Source: Meghan Marchetti)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A nine-year veteran K9 from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) has passed away after battling cancer.

Justice, a 10-year-old black Labrador Retriever, joined DGIF as an officer in 2011 and was partnered with Senior CPO Wayne Billhimer.

Justice retired in January of this year after a cancer diagnosis.

K9 Justice and Sr. Officer Billhimer
K9 Justice and Sr. Officer Billhimer (Source: DGIF)

Sr. Officer Billhimer and his wife, Molly 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.”

K9 Justice and Billhimer worked together on evidence detection, suspect tracking, missing person searches, wildlife violation identification, and public outreach.

One of Justice and Billhimer’s most notable cases was a successful three-mile track of a suspected turkey poacher in Shenandoah County. That case resulted in a seizure of 52 pairs of turkey wings and a conviction for the suspect.

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