Lake County Sheriff’s K9 Dax Passes Away After Injury that Forced Retirement from Active Duty

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Lake County Sheriff's Office Deputy John Forlenza and K9 Dax (SOURCE: Lake County Sheriff's Office)
Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy John Forlenza and K9 Dax (SOURCE: Lake County Sheriff’s Office).

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday, April 12, 2024 that the men and women of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office are mourning the loss of Sheriff’s K9 Dax, who passed away this morning.

While K9 Dax’s legacy will forever live on, this morning K9 Dax passed away.

— Lake County Sheriff’s Office

K9 Dax was injured on March 3, 2024, while apprehending a person who had committed several felonies and was fleeing. K9 Dax injured his neck and spine, which resulted in temporary paralysis to his hindquarters. K9 Dax was subsequently diagnosed with cervical and thoracolumbar Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) and lumbosacral IVDD exasperated during his apprehension on March 3rd. K9 Dax went through intensive physical therapy following the injury.

K9 Dax’s team of veterinarians determined that, for his physical wellbeing, he would not be able to return to active duty. He was retired from service in March and on April 10, 2024, the community gathered to celebrate K9 Dax’s loyal and dedicated service to the people of Lake County.

K9 Dax’s partner, Deputy John Forlenza previously said, “There is no way to quantify or properly express what Dax’s service has meant to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, the Lake County community, his supporters across the nation, and especially me. But I cannot refrain from stating that his service has been exemplary, and most importantly, he has saved countless lives, including my own. I am proud to have been his handler and best friend for the last nine years. Dax is a true hero and well deserving of the rest and love that waits for him in his retirement. I’d like to especially thank Dax’s supporters, team of veterinarians, trainers, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, and my family and friends for all their support throughout his career.”

“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

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office hosted a retirement ceremony for K9 Dax on Wednesday, April 10, 2024 fat the Sheriff’s Patrol Division on Milwaukee Avenue in Libertyville. Members of the community were invited to join the retirement ceremony to send K9 Dax off into retirement and congratulate him on his ten years of dedicated service.



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K-9 Dax (SOURCE: Lake County Sheriff's Office)
K-9 Dax (SOURCE: Lake County Sheriff’s Office).

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