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Veteran Santa Rosa police dog recognized

  • Utz was credited with helping persuade hundreds of suspects to surrender since he began working for the department in 2004. (Kevin McCallum / PD)

Utz, a veteran Santa Rosa police dog, retired last month after nearly a decade of service.

The Santa Rosa City Council issued a proclamation Tuesday honoring the 10-year-old black Belgian Malinois for his service chasing down suspects, sniffing out drugs and keeping fellow officers safe.

He was credited with helping persuade hundreds of suspects to surrender since he began working for the department in 2004. Since being certified in drug detection in 2009, he has helped seize 500 pounds of marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin.

Wearing his police badge and sporting more than a few gray whiskers, Utz spent much of the brief ceremony exploring the council chambers.

“Please tell Utz to stop sniffing so intently, he's making me nervous,” Mayor Scott Bartley said.

Utz's handler, Officer Pat Gillette, said the dog will continue to live with his family as an adored pet and play with kids in the neighborhood.

“When I'm at work he's going to have the run of the house and the run of the yard just like all other dogs,” Gillette said.

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