make WWAY your homepage  Become a fan on facebook  Follow us on twitter  Receive RSS Newsfeeds  MEMBERS: Register | Login

Dep. Zeller remembers his K9 partner Viper

READ MORE: Dep. Zeller remembers his K9 partner Viper

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- The Brunswick County Sheriff's Office is grieving after losing a dedicated K-9 this weekend during a drug investigation.

According to the Sheriff's Office the Drug Enforcement Unit was investigating in the Ash area around 7:30 p.m. Saturday when K-9 Viper, a Belgian Malinous, and his handler Dep. Jared Zeller were called out to help search for a large amount of cocaine.

When they found the drugs, Viper bit through the plastic wrap and the tape surrounding the two-pound package of cocaine, which led to a severe reaction from ingesting it. Viper was taken to to a veterinary hospital in Southport, where he was pronounced dead.

Zeller says he and Viper were more than just partners.

"They come home with us," said Zeller. "They interact with us. He was a member of my family.

He says Viper's final act of service was a testament to how much the canines do for the community.

"They can find that lost child that's in the woods that we couldn't find," said Zeller. "They can smell the odor of narcotics inside a car or inside a home."

He and Viper would train for six hours every week to keep them as sharp as possible. They were hardly ever separated during their time together and he says things just won't be the same.

"I think the hardest thing is going to be when I go back to work, not putting him in the car, not having him ride around with me," said Zeller. "It's going to be tough."

There will be a memorial service in Viper's honor Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. at the Sheriff's Office in Bolivia.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.



To sailboat2323. I think John Wayne's quote, Life is hard, it's harder if your stupid was meant for you.


Your post really makes me sick!! I can't believe you would be so cold as to write something like this. Viper deserves a memorial service for his years of service to protect this county that we live in or at least I live in. WHen you have a k-9 partner they are more than just a dog. They are your best friend. They are at your side to protect and serve. Deputy Zeller lost his friend and partner. Viper done an amazing job taking ILLEGAL drugs off our street. What if it was your family that he saved from getting these drugs. I bet it would be a different story then. Nothing never makes sense to us until it hits us or our family. Have a little respect for this Deputy obviously its hard for you to do, but try. He doesn't need critical comments right now. He needs our support to get thru this difficult time.



Actually these dogs are

Actually these dogs are certified by the state. They have trials every year and get graded on their performance and have to be certified in order to be used in the field. So the answer to your question is no, YOUR dog is not a "cop in disguise". Maybe you won't have to be "sniffed out" one day.

Hey "Sailboat", I have an

Hey "Sailboat", I have an idea. Why don't you hook up with Frucci and set a course for Lisbon from Bermuda where his boat is under repair. Do it soon, so neither of you loads miss the worst of the hurricane season.

Actually I'm in the Keys

Actually I'm in the Keys right now, don't you wish you could afford to be here now.

Your vacation must not be as

Your vacation must not be as exciting as you think since your stuck to a computer commenting on something you obviously know nothing about. Continue your "sailboat ride" with your "buddy"....

You can't

You just can't fix stupid.

Wow, you are out of it

The dog was an officer, you sailboat2323 are the tool. I'm guessing you attempted to make it through BLET but washed out. Don't worry buttercup, we'll still respond when you call for help.

Guesty, Why would you think


Why would you think that just because someone doesn't worship "LEOS"" as you call them that they are BLET washouts like that's some kind of great job to have anyway. Yes, it's job security but really they are just glorified security officers.

I never said that

Joseph, I never said for anybody to worship LEO's. You should respect LEO's for doing a job that not just anybody can do. LEO's are not perfect, there are some bad apples in the barrel, just like in all other professions. Other than firefighters and military, I don't know of any other job where a complete stranger is willing to help another person in their time of need, up to and including the giving of his/her life.

You are correct about it not being a "great job" since the pay stinks, the public watches every move waiting for a slip up to pounce on. The hours suck, the "customers" like to fight, shoot, cut, spit on, barf on, pee in the cars or just plain attempt to hurt officers. It is a calling and either you have it or you don't.


with the crooks they will probably steal less and be treated better. I depend on the cops for nothing, they are always there after the fact, can never think of one time one has ever made it to an emergency call to prevent crime. Good for writing tickets and such but that's about all. They are good for arresting nondrunk women like Wyrick did though.

Wow......I'm rather

Wow......I'm rather astonished by your complete lack of compassion and understanding. When has a cop ever been able to tell that a crime was going to happen prior to it taking place? Are you trying to say that cops are unworthy of respect just because they aren't clarvoyant? Wow......again still astonished by the fact that you seem so willing to belittle those that grieve for this fine Officer, and yes I did say OFFICER, because contrary to your belief, Viper was an officer of the law. Did you ever stop to think that maybe your hateful, hurtful words spoken from you misguided sense of righteousness are precisely why this world need police officers? Since we as humans seem to forget what compassion and empathy mean, crime rate soars. Where is your sense of humanity? Why must you come on this media forum and spout your negativity and disrespect those that are mourning? BTW, no I can't afford to be in the Keys right now, I am a public servant in a thankless, underpaid job. And yes, I chose this profession because I have a sense of humanity. I chose to try and help others knowing that I would never be rich in doing so. I urge you to take a step back and try to walk a mile in anothers shoes before you start spouting your trash.

That is your choice

Keep with the criminals you endear. The main job of the police is to respond to calls for service. If there are no calls (never) the focus shifts to prevention.


Maybe you should just stay in the keys with your doughnut dog and do the rest of a favor. You apparently have never bonded with a dog enough to care about what happens when they pass away. Those of us who have know that the animal is a part of our family. This isn't going to be some carriage affair you dip stick. More than likely it will be other off duty officers and K9s supporting a colleague. I feel sorry for people like you who are so numb to some of the simplest things in life that can bring people together over a common bond.

Nana, He put his life on the


He put his life on the line huh? Look he was an animal doing what he was trained to do. The bad thing about it is that he didn't even get a chance to say no, he was taken and made into a drug dog. Now on the other hand human officers make a choice to become officers and know full well what the risks are, so as far as I'm concerned it ridiculous to waste time and money on a memorial for a dog. Truth be told, they probably didn't even need him to go in because the neighbors said they smelled a foul odor and when the police arrived they still would have found it. :) Have a great day!!!

The more

The more you open your mouth, the more ridiculous you sound.

Why is that buddy, because I

Why is that buddy, because I say what other people are afraid to say and you don't like that. I'm sorry if my opinion offends you but it's just that , my opinion. If you think it' s invalid, then there's nothing for you to worry about.

Not your buddy

First off, I'm definitely not your buddy, so please don't refer to me as such.

Secondly, you are definitely entitled to your opinion. It's the way your express it that bothers everyone.

You are insensitive and

You are insensitive and rude. That K-9 has problem done more good for the public in his short life than you ever will.

Are you serious? It was a

Are you serious? It was a dog that obviously didn't have the proper training if he went head first into a supply of meth. They are supposed to alert, not eat it right?

For you information the bag

For you information the bag broke open by accident. You are such a @ss!!!! So this comment goes out to you and all the other low lifes that are going to post up that are probely pissed cause they found your drugs!!!!!!

Why do you assume everyone

Why do you assume everyone who does not agree with you is a drug user, you think your view is the only one? Maybe the bag busted when the cops were trying too get their share before they turned them in, ever think of that?

Actually good NC buddy, I

Actually good NC buddy, I don't do drugs and I am a well educated Surgical Technologist in Wilmington,NC but like I said it was just a dog. Get your heart off of your sleeve, as you are probably a big time badge whore and how do you know the bad burst by accident? People will call me an @ss or whatever they little pathetic hearts like because they have nothing else worthy to actually say. Have a very nice life Mr Guest1. :)

when it's your child that

when it's your child that goes missing, your loved ones that are in trouble, you are the one beatten and robbed, make damn good and sure you turn the k9 away, let the officers with two legs or four, that you do not need their help. self righteous jerk....


Surgical Technologist in small terms fecal examiner. Good one with the bagde whore such big words from the all high and mighty..


I hope I never come into contact with you as a Surgical Technologist! You're well educated but use terms like "badge whore"?


You're pretty insensitive to be in the health field. And to be so "well educated", you sure have a lot of grammar errors.

What's behind the "NC buddy"? You're probably from up north, right?

Duh!! Dogs sniff. The

Duh!! Dogs sniff. The chemicals were going inside the dog long before he got to the actual stash.

Did you read something into the article...

that wasn't there. The question is, are you serious or just an idiot?? Where did you come up with your comment about the K-9 eating anything? The question Joe, is your head so far up your a$$, that you have no idea what you are talking about?