LEE COUNTY, AL (WTVM) - News Leader Nine has learned Rico, a Lee County police dog trained in sniffing out explosives, has died.
On Friday August 31, Rico fell ill and was taken to his veterinarian for an examination which revealed a tear in his intestinal tract. He underwent surgery to repair the rupture but was unable to recover.
Rico died Sunday afternoon from an internal infection.
Rico, a Belgian Malinois, was 8 years old and was trained in detecting explosive ordinance. Sergeant Jimmy Sanders, a 10 year veteran deputy with the Lee County Sheriff's Office, was Rico's partner and the pair had been working together since Rico came to the sheriff's office in 2006.
Opelika City Schools Superintendant Dr. Mark Neighbors and the Opelika City School Board was instrumental in bringing Rico to the sheriff's office by receiving a grant that allowed for Rico's purchase and he and his partner's training.
Rico leaves three fellow K-9 deputies "Mike", "Smoke" and "Eve".