Portland K-9 Tony heads into retirement after 35 (dog) years of service

Portland Police dog Tony is perhaps best remembered for his work in a 2009 case, when he and his partner, Officer Christopher Coyne, responded to a report of somebody severely bleeding underneath the Casco Bay Bridge. But the individual was on the move.

Tony used his superior sense of smell to track the individual, a stabbing victim. The two cops found the victim at an overpass near Beach Street, according to a Portland city release.

“As a result of their ability to promptly locate the victim, first responders were able to administer life-saving treatment,” a city statement recalls.

On Sunday, Tony, a German shepherd who came from Germany in 2006 to team up with Coyne, will be honored alongside his fellow officer in a banquet. Tony is retiring after five years of hard work for Portland’s finest.

“The Portland Police Department is going to have to fill a void in its K-9 unit with Tony’s retirement,” Acting Police Chief Michael Sauschuck said in a statement  “Since 2003, Chris and his dogs, first Beano and then Tony, have been an important asset within the department. Tony will be missed and I wish him the best in his retirement.”

There’s an additional note here: The city’s K-9 program is funded entirely through donations, and with Tony getting ready to frequent Saturday night bean suppers and Bingo (or whatever German shepherds do in retirement), there’s a need for more sponsorships.

Here’s a little bit more about Tony and the program from the city’s announcement:

In keeping with tradition and in recognition of the close bonds formed between handler and K-9 dog, Tony has retired to the Coyne family. Tony was funded by a series of donations totaling $6,000 from a number of local businesses and residents including Steve DiMillo and his family, Systems Engineering, Planet Dog and Brooklawn Cemetery. Tony bears [the name of] Tony DiMillo.

The Portland Police Department currently utilizes five K-9 teams with each team comprised of an officer and trained dog who respond to a variety of issues. The dogs and officers go through a lengthy training process together, utilizing only “positive” training methods, often using toys as an incentive. Currently, two teams are trained to search for lost people, articles, narcotics, and assist in suspect apprehension.

Businesses or individuals in the area who want to support the program and help fund Tony’s replacement on the team can contact Sauschuck at 874-8601.

Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.