Waynesboro, Ga., mourns death of K-9 officer

Dog ingested meth-producing chemicals he stepped in during a drug bust

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WAYNESBORO, Ga. --- The Waynesboro Police Department said goodbye to one of its own Wednesday.

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Waynesboro, Ga., police Officer Bruce Petitt wipes his eye during a memorial service for Po Po, the 2-year-old K-9 officer who died two days after ingesting meth-producing chemicals he stepped in during a drug bust.   Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Waynesboro, Ga., police Officer Bruce Petitt wipes his eye during a memorial service for Po Po, the 2-year-old K-9 officer who died two days after ingesting meth-producing chemicals he stepped in during a drug bust.

At his memorial service, they said he was a hero, who "gave his life in the line of duty."

Fellow officers wore black strips across their badges in his honor.

Among the mourners who spoke at Joiner-Anderson-Saxon Funeral Home, none prompted more heartfelt tears than 8-year-old Mitchell Petitt, whose father, Officer Bruce Petitt, handled Po Po, the 2-year-old German shepherd police dog who died Friday.

"Po Po was more than my friend. He was my hero," Mitchell said. "He went to work every night with my dad and he kept Daddy safe."

Po Po was euthanized after ingesting meth-producing chemicals he had stepped in during a routine bust two days earlier, Bruce Petitt said. The morning after coming into contact with the chemicals, Po Po was experiencing respiratory problems and erratic behavior. His veterinarian said it was too late to save him.

"If we had any inclination that there was a chemical or anything in that house, not only would he not have been in there, but we wouldn't have been in there because it's a biohazard," Petitt said.

Po Po's legacy will be to help protect other police dogs, Maj. Mary Bennett assured those who gathered for the service.

"Po Po has done more for us in 10 months than some officers have done in 15 years," she said.

She plans to spread the word to other departments to help them avoid a similar tragedy.

Waynesboro resident Rex Gerlinger testified to Po Po's effect on criminals.

"Several weeks ago there was an incident right in front of my house where Officer Petitt and Po Po stopped two gentlemen that had just robbed a car," he said. "One of the gentlemen had a backpack. As he was reaching in the backpack, Officer Petitt said, 'Unless you want to be wearing my dog, leave it.' "

Inside the backpack, officers found a loaded gun.

"I think today if Po Po had not been there that we would be celebrating a different type of memorial," Gerlinger said.

Petitt is training his other dog, Dee-Moe, to take Po Po's place, but noted how difficult it will be, for both of them.

"In a city that has three officers per shift, he was neutralizer," Petitt said of the K-9 officer who had lived with his family for two years. "We were more like a 20-man shift when we went on call with him."

Protective gear

In some cities, protective vests and booties are used for police dogs. However, in the Southeast, Officer Bruce Petitt said, vests aren't as practical because of the high heat index. Booties can also get in the way and be a deterrent for trained dogs that sometimes need use of their claws to run or attack.

If a dog has ingested a chemical, there are detoxifying treatments that can be tried, but in Po Po's case, officers didn't know he had come in contact with the chemical.

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TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 05/20/10 - 01:18 am
0
0
How sad. Bless his little

How sad. Bless his little heart. My condolences to his family. That should be added charges for the losers busted. Had they not been involved in this criminal activity this officer and family pet would still be alive. It's their fault and they should be charged, period!

Ushouldnthave
0
Points
Ushouldnthave 05/20/10 - 03:24 am
0
0
"Po Po has done more for us

"Po Po has done more for us in 10 months than some officers have done in 15 years," she said." Wow! I wonder how the WPD officers feel about that statement today.

cristinadh
6
Points
cristinadh 05/20/10 - 03:45 am
0
0
Poor dog.. he is resting in

Poor dog.. he is resting in peace beside our lord..

corgimom
53597
Points
corgimom 05/20/10 - 06:16 am
0
0
I am so sad. My condolences

I am so sad. My condolences to his trainer and partner, Bruce Pettit, and his family.

ripjones
2
Points
ripjones 05/20/10 - 08:00 am
0
0
My condolences as well to the

My condolences as well to the Pettit family. This highlights the stupidity of a meth user -- the making oif your high, is toxic enough to take down large German Shepard. I hope the "cookers" get a few extra bumps and bruises on their way to the slammer. I'd make them drink their own swill. Save the taxpayer a ton of money.

genbartow
2
Points
genbartow 05/20/10 - 09:27 am
0
0
Mr. Gerslinger sure does use

Mr. Gerslinger sure does use the term "gentlemen" loosely.

calltomission
0
Points
calltomission 05/20/10 - 09:29 am
0
0
My condolences goes out to

My condolences goes out to the Pettit family. I am thankful to the Pettit family! God is with you, and your family to comfort you, and give you peace. I am so sorry about the death of Po Po. I went to the City Hall, Rev. Ivery Richmond County SCLC, Minister E. Evans, and asked for the tracking dog. I was exposed to the meth chemicals with a meth lab next to me, and didn't know it. Another Deacon had one next to him, and didn't know it. Three of us was hospitalized. I was in the hospital for 9 days. I never got a visit from Waynesboro Police Dept. My three grandchildren, daughter, five neighbors were exposed, etc. We have been under doctor's care since 2008. I just had surgery. The police have kept this so quietly, and like we wasn't important enough to investigate. "It appeared that this was always a Closed Case!" It's ashamed when you give the names of these people they still hasn't done anything, and they are making more people sick. A police to this day have never came to us to take a complaint. I have been to City Council Meeting to enlightened them, and at a Town Hall Meeting at the school to speak. It is very sad when the investigator comes out, and he tells the dealer "I don't want to be here. I just came out to show my face. I am tired of the calls. They have been calling dropping the dime on "D." I know there is a meth lab here. I have been seeing the traffic night and day." Why didn't the Waynesboro Police Dept. let us know so we could protect ourselves? Why did the Officer lie? I am glad that the statement came from their boss, stating: Po Po's legacy will be to help protect other police dogs, Maj. Mary Bennett assured those who gathered for the service.

"Po Po has done more for us in 10 months than some officers have done in 15 years," she said.

She plans to spread the word to other departments to help them avoid a similar tragedy. I hoped the word is spread to prevent a similar tragedy about other people, too. I don't want no to have to go through not able to breathe at times, feet swelling, chest pains, headaches, and having staples put in your nose because of surgery to help you breathe to removed the tumors from the meth explosure. The Police couldn't throw it in my face about drugs, because I have never drank or smoked in my life. Just think about a four year old, a six year old and 8 year old having been exposed to this chemicals, and the Police did not help us at all. How many more people and Police Dogs has to die or get sick? We loved Po Po! I was so hurted when I heard this tragic news on Channel 12 News about Po Po. It is on medical records that we were exposed to the chemicals. Why want Waynesboro Police Dept., come to us and interview us? "Who are you protecting?" It appears that our lives is not important to Waynesboro Police Dept. I know there want be any intimidation! Right!!! I do know there are some good Officers at Waynesboro Police Department. They works hard and try to do the very best job as possible. They are concerned about the people, and their safety in the community. I thank those Officers at Waynesboro Police Department for a very hard, and dangerous job. They put their lives on the line daily to protect the citizens in Waynesboro, Georgia. Their Supervisors needs to be appreciative of their services, too. Waynesboro is not the quiet little town any more. I am thankful to the Officers for a very hard job.

calltomission
0
Points
calltomission 05/20/10 - 09:29 am
0
0
My condolences goes out to

My condolences goes out to the Pettit family. I am thankful to the Pettit family! God is with you, and your family to comfort you, and give you peace. I am so sorry about the death of Po Po. I went to the City Hall, Rev. Ivery Richmond County SCLC, Minister E. Evans, and asked for the tracking dog. I was exposed to the meth chemicals with a meth lab next to me, and didn't know it. Another Deacon had one next to him, and didn't know it. Three of us was hospitalized. I was in the hospital for 9 days. I never got a visit from Waynesboro Police Dept. My three grandchildren, daughter, five neighbors were exposed, etc. We have been under doctor's care since 2008. I just had surgery. The police have kept this so quietly, and like we wasn't important enough to investigate. "It appeared that this was always a Closed Case!" It's ashamed when you give the names of these people they still hasn't done anything, and they are making more people sick. A police to this day have never came to us to take a complaint. I have been to City Council Meeting to enlightened them, and at a Town Hall Meeting at the school to speak. It is very sad when the investigator comes out, and he tells the dealer "I don't want to be here. I just came out to show my face. I am tired of the calls. They have been calling dropping the dime on "D." I know there is a meth lab here. I have been seeing the traffic night and day." Why didn't the Waynesboro Police Dept. let us know so we could protect ourselves? Why did the Officer lie? I am glad that the statement came from their boss, stating: Po Po's legacy will be to help protect other police dogs, Maj. Mary Bennett assured those who gathered for the service.

"Po Po has done more for us in 10 months than some officers have done in 15 years," she said.

She plans to spread the word to other departments to help them avoid a similar tragedy. I hoped the word is spread to prevent a similar tragedy about other people, too. I don't want no to have to go through not able to breathe at times, feet swelling, chest pains, headaches, and having staples put in your nose because of surgery to help you breathe to removed the tumors from the meth explosure. The Police couldn't throw it in my face about drugs, because I have never drank or smoked in my life. Just think about a four year old, a six year old and 8 year old having been exposed to this chemicals, and the Police did not help us at all. How many more people and Police Dogs has to die or get sick? We loved Po Po! I was so hurted when I heard this tragic news on Channel 12 News about Po Po. It is on medical records that we were exposed to the chemicals. Why want Waynesboro Police Dept., come to us and interview us? "Who are you protecting?" It appears that our lives is not important to Waynesboro Police Dept. I know there want be any intimidation! Right!!! I do know there are some good Officers at Waynesboro Police Department. They works hard and try to do the very best job as possible. They are concerned about the people, and their safety in the community. I thank those Officers at Waynesboro Police Department for a very hard, and dangerous job. They put their lives on the line daily to protect the citizens in Waynesboro, Georgia. Their Supervisors needs to be appreciative of their services, too. Waynesboro is not the quiet little town any more. I am thankful to the Officers for a very hard job.

baronvonreich
1
Points
baronvonreich 05/20/10 - 01:33 pm
0
0
UshouldnthaveThursday, May 20

UshouldnthaveThursday, May 20 3:24 AM "Po Po has done more for us in 10 months than some officers have done in 15 years," she said." Wow! I wonder how the WPD officers feel about that statement today.
---------------------------
That is exactly what I thought!

getreal40
0
Points
getreal40 05/20/10 - 01:44 pm
0
0
Calltomission: huh? I do not

Calltomission: huh? I do not understand the point of your message. Do you support the police department or do you not support them?

The bottom line is the blame lies with the scumbags who live around you and are making meth and putting your life in danger. Perhaps you should see if others who live in your area want to meet and discuss ways in which all of you could be more diligent in recognizing meth lab activity and any other crimes occurring in your neighborhood...Placing the blame on the police department is not a solution.

calltomission
0
Points
calltomission 05/20/10 - 02:16 pm
0
0
I do support the Police Dept.

I do support the Police Dept. We have organized and meeting this was when we was attacked. Councilmen asked us to start meeting at the house, and we did. We didn't get support when we were attacked. It is all over the city. It is not just one neighborhood. I don't support the police when they turn their heads the other way! Where are you going to move when it is all over? I am sorry for what happened to Po Po!

ripjones
2
Points
ripjones 05/20/10 - 02:43 pm
0
0
Iletuknow- I guess you didn't

Iletuknow- I guess you didn't read the article well. The dog stepped in the raw materials of meth, among other things. Meth messes up so many lives. The people that make meth are low-life pieces of excrement, that pray on the addiction. A good meth cooker, is a DEAD meth cooker.

calltomission
0
Points
calltomission 05/20/10 - 03:41 pm
0
0
I agree with you. I respect

I agree with you. I respect your decision. Thank you.

Nat the Cat
1
Points
Nat the Cat 05/20/10 - 04:48 pm
0
0
My sincere heartfelt

My sincere heartfelt condolences regarding this tragedy. But we can learn from PoPo's tragedy and we should learn something from this.

I know this may sound silly to some of you, but I am very serious here in suggesting that when trained Dogs, or any animal for that matter, are going to a known "meth house," to supply the Dog with disposible pads [shoes] on their feet and perhaps a muzzle to prevent the animal from licking the poison or directly inhaling the fumes up the animal's nose. I truly believe that these remedial measures may save the life of another animal!

Harrisburg Homeowner
2
Points
Harrisburg Homeowner 05/20/10 - 09:00 pm
0
0
I think the statement made

I think the statement made about Po Po was probably a statement made in grief over a loyal, hard-working dog that everyone loved. If the police get upset over that, then they are not seeing the comment in the context in which it was made. Po Po, by his very nature, had abilities that police officers don't have, and because of these abilities, he was able to find drugs where others could not. Po Po could sniff out hidden drugs. Police officers cannot go digging through people's stuff. They have to have probable cause. Po Po gave them that probable cause. Please consider the comment in the context it was given--not as a poor statement about law enforcement but as a commendation of the abilities that the dog had that police could not do on their own.

lfennell
0
Points
lfennell 05/21/10 - 04:13 pm
0
0
I THINK THE WAYNESBORO POLICE

I THINK THE WAYNESBORO POLICE OFFICER THAT MADE THE STATEMENT CONCERNING PO PO MEANT THAT ANIMALS HAVE MORE SENSE ABOUT THINGS THAN SOME PEOPLE DO.

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