Lake County Sheriff's Office K9 Dax dies days after retirement

10-year-old Dax recently suffered on-duty injury

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Friday, April 12, 2024
Lake County Sheriff's Office K9 Dax dies days after retirement
Lake County Sheriff's Office K9 Dax, whose handler was Deputy John Forlenza, has died days after his retirement. He suffered an injury recently.

LAKE COUNTY, Ill. (WLS) -- Just days after his retirement, international law enforcement superstar K9 Deputy Dax has died, the Lake County Sheriff's Office said Friday.

"While K9 Dax's legacy will forever live on, this morning K9 Dax passed away," a news release said.

Last month, Dax was injured while catching a suspect in unincorporated Zion.

The well-known K9 was diagnosed with cervical and thoracolumbar intervertebral disc disease.

Deputy John Forlenza talks about what Dax has planned for retirement.

After going through physical therapy, he was able to walk again. However, veterinarians said he could not return to active duty.

The community gathered Wednesday to celebrate his retirement.

He served for nearly 10 years with his longtime handler, Deputy John Forlenza.

While Lake County has several K9s on duty. None had been as successful as Dax.

Ten-year-old K9 Dax and his handler located more than 400 missing endangered people or fleeing felons and seized hundreds of kilos of illegal drugs and dozens of firearms discarded by suspects over the last nine years, according to the sheriff's office.

"K9 Dax will always hold a special place in our hearts, and we are incredibly saddened by his passing. K9 Dax will be remembered for the lives he saved, violent offenders he apprehended, and drugs he kept from being distributed in our community. Please keep the Forlenza family in your thoughts and prayers," Sheriff John D. Idleburg said in a statement.