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Ohio community mourns loss of police dog, raises $24K for K-9 bulletproof vests

A memorial service was scheduled for a police dog named Jethro, who was shot by a burglary suspect over the weekend.
/ Source: TODAY

A police dog that died during a shootout with a burglary suspect will be laid to rest later this week in Ohio.

Jethro, a member of the Canton Police Department K-9 unit, was shot three times Saturday after officers responded to a burglary alarm at a local business. None of the bullets hit the dog's vital organs, but a shot to the bridge of his muzzle ultimately led to brain swelling, according to a Facebook post that updated the community about his progress.

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Jethro died the next day from his injuries, prompting an outpouring of support and sympathy for both the police department and Jethro's handler.

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“We’ve had quite a response from the community. It’s impressive,” said Capt. David Kurzinsky, a spokesman for the department.

“Some people may see this as an animal or a tool, but people who love animals or have animals as pets know that you can compare it to losing a family member," Kurzinsky said.

A pet blogger who recently met Jethro set up an online fundraiser to buy bulletproof vests for all the police dogs in the Canton police department. The site raised more than $24,000 within a day after being set up Sunday.

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On Monday, the Canton police chief announced that a service had been scheduled Thursday at the city's memorial civic center.

The burglary suspect who shot Jethro now faces several state felony charges, including assault on a police dog, Kurzinsky said.