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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.

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107 Comments on "Dep. Zeller remembers his K9 partner Viper"

2015 years 10 months ago

Very well said JaneQpublic servant…

2015 years 10 months ago

Really???? Are you on something? Cars are people too??? Viper deserves to be honored and to make a joke of the situation shows how incredibly ignorant some people really are. Just answering……

2015 years 10 months ago

If you knew anything about K-9 dogs and their handlers you wouldnt be so ignorant as to post this. Before the uneducated speak they should know what they are talking about. Dogs trained in Brunswick County are trained to a certain standard, every time. This dog, and this handler, who put thier lives on the line every day so that ignorant fools like you can sleep in peace every night, were doing what they were trained to do. The dog accidentally punctured the package and ingested the substance. And the handler was right there to care for him. If there is any idiot in this instance, it is clearly you. Those dogs and their handlers defend your safety and you should be ashamed to relish the freedom they provide. How dare you, you ignorant fool!

2015 years 10 months ago

I personally know how K-9s are trained since I live with one you idiot. It was 100 acres of land and the dog was off lead. He didn’t “let” him eat the drugs….you really are an idiot. I have an idea….why don’t you go out there and sniff for drugs as I am sure no one would miss you!

2015 years 10 months ago

big deal. I am so impressed. Do you sleep in the dog house with him, lift his leg when he has to go? You talk like one of the jackbooted thugs patroling our streets.


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