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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Iowa Police Dog Needs YOUR Assistance

On October 19, 2004, a Des Moines Police Dog was injured in the line of duty.  Two Officers responded to the scene following a report that an armed suspect ran off into the woods after shots were fired at an apartment complex.  The Canine Officer was deployed into a dark wooded area in search of the suspect.

photo from

The suspect was lying on the ground with gun in hand, waiting for the Officers in the woods.  When the Canine Officer began alerting the suspects position, the suspect opened fire on the Canine Officer.  The flash of the gunfire when the Canine Officer was shot alerted the Officers to the location of the suspect.  The Officers returned fire, shooting the suspect several times.  Unfortunately, the Canine Officer was caught in the crossfire, injured by both the suspect and the Officers involved in the shootout by a .45-caliber bullet and a shotgun.

"Reno", the Canine Officer, was shot in his chest and his leg.  A bullet shattered vertebrae in his spine, another shattered his knee cap.  He had surgery at Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine as well as undergoing physical therapy.  Officer Tim Nading, Reno's handler, and another officer escaped the incident without injury thanks to Reno's brave and dedicated actions.

"It's a great asset to the department, and in this case we're very, we're positive that it more than likely saved these officers' lives," Sgt. Tony Steverson said.

The Veterinary Surgeons at Iowa State gave Reno a 70% chance of returning to police work. After five months of healing and physical rehabilitation sessions at Iowa State, he was able to return to duty.

Reno had been on the force for one year at the time of the shooting. He served the Des Moines Police Department for a total of seven years. 

Reno was honored by the:
  1. City of Des Moines with the Key to the City.   
  2. United States Police Canine Association as the 2004 Patrol Case of the Year .
  3. American Kennel Club (AKC) with the American Kennel Club Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE) 2005

Officer Nading and Reno visit schools to educate childrendemonstrate obedience training skills to pet owners, and participate in fundraisers for local animal shelters and rescues.  Their dedication went beyond the routine service of a police officer.

At the time of the shooting, Reno was not wearing a protective vest.  Reno, who was one of five Canine Officers that had been recruited the previous year, was waiting for a protective vest to arrive that was still on order. 

Reno's shooter, Michael Shawn Reyna, was charged with 3 counts of attempted murder, and sentenced to 25 years in prison to be served concurrent with other counts, and was given credit given for time served.  Charges of causing injuries to a Canine Officer were dismissed.  Reyna filed this month, May of 2011, for Post Conviction Relief.  According to , "Post-conviction relief is a general term related to appeals of criminal convictions, which may include release, new trial, modification of sentence, and such other relief as may be proper and just."

Reno retired from the Des Moines Police Department in March of 2011.  Officer Nading, who continues to care for Reno during his retirement years, credits Reno with saving his life.  Officer Nading continues to pay out of pocket for medicines that provide health, comfort, and quality of life for Reno during his retirement years, but the expense is not minimal after such extensive injuries. 

I am inspired by the dedication of dog to his officer and duty.  A dog that was nearly fatally wounded, not only survived the injuries and psychological trauma, but continued to serve his officer, and his department for another six years before retiring.  His officer continues to share his home and his family with his former Canine Partner, which includes paying for medications for a dog that likely saved his life.  

A fund has been initiated to help Officer Nading provide the medication Reno needs to maintain his quality of life.  Anyone wishing to donate to Reno's Retirement fund  can send a check to Iowa Veterinary Specialists 6110 Creston Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50312.

The dedication of the Police Department to their Canine Officer seems questionable.  After seven years of service, a life threatening injury, and possibly two Officers' lives saved, shouldn't a Canine Officer have his medical care paid for by the department he served.  A dog whose average life span is 9-12 years, who has spent seven of those years protecting officers and citizens deserves at least that much respect.

Why was a Canine Officer allowed to serve active duty without the benefit of access to a protective vest?  Why would a fellow officer repeatedly refer to a Canine Officer as "It"? 
Why is there no "retirement" care provided for a Canine Officer that has done more than serve his Officer, his department, and his citizens?
Why were the charges for Injuring a Canine Officer Dismissed?

I don't know the answer to these questions, but I do know that animal lovers everywhere will step up and assist Officer Nading and Reno, with the same dedication with which they protected us.

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1 comment:

Erich said...

The link about the retirement is no longer active.

I don't understand, how can a hero police dog who worked for 7 years not receive medical treatment by the department? How do they treat all their police dogs?

Or I should say we because I am a resident of Des Moines. If anyone knows more please email me