With great sadness, Sheriff James R. Voutour announced Saturday the sudden passing of Niagara County Sheriff's Office canine EJ, handled by his partner Deputy Richard Bull. On Jan. 19, Bull, his handler, discovered EJ unresponsive inside his kennel.
Preliminary findings suggest EJ passed away from a medical condition known as gastric torsion of the stomach; however, an autopsy has been scheduled to determine the true cause of death.
EJ was born Sept. 25, 2015, in Hungary and began his career with the Niagara County Sheriff's Office in March 2017. EJ was purchased in part from many community donations to the Niagara County Law Enforcement Foundation.
"The community has always been great supporters of our Canine Division, as well as the Niagara County Sheriff's Office," said Voutour.
EJ and Bull were New York state-certified in criminal apprehension, area searches, building searches, muzzle deployment, tactical high-risk deployment, tracking and advanced narcotics detection.
During their career as a canine team, Bull and EJ were responsible for several successful tracks, the recovery of numerous pieces of evidence and discovery of illegal narcotics. They also conducted several demonstrations at various events throughout Niagara County, including Lockport Blue, D.A.R.E., Young Marines and the Niagara County Fair.
Voutour said, "While canine EJ's tenure with the Niagara County Sheriff's Office was short, he undoubtedly will be remembered for his hard work, loyal friendship to Deputy Bull and service to Niagara County."
EJ was named after L.Cpl. Eric James Orlowski, a fellow U.S. Marine and friend of Bull, who was killed in action on March 22, 2003, during Operation Enduring Freedom in Iraq.