Connecticut K-9 Retires



An important member of the State Police Troop G barracks will answer his last roll call this afternoon, before trotting off into retirement. Jorick, a 90-pound, 9 1/2 year old German Shepherd and his partner, Tfc.Alex Horjatschun, have handled a variety of calls in their eight years of service together, including solving the “Snow Bandits’’ case several years ago. Those thieves — so named because of their penchant for striking on winter days in bad weather — had not reckoned with Jorick, born and bred in Slovakia and used to the cold. Jorick has also found an elderly Greenwich woman with Alzheimers who’d wandered away from home, recovered stolen firearms and vehicles, and helped solve countless burglaries, Horjatschun said, including the recent break-in at a Bridgeport church. But all of that is ending for the trooper’s canine partner, who will be staying home when Horjatschun clocks in for his next 5:30 a.m. shift on Thursday. “There is no mandatory retirement, and his health is good,’’ the trooper said. “But I want him to enjoy his retirement; I don’t want anything to happen to him,’’ Horjatschun said during a brief visit to The Connecticut Post on Wednesday morning. The two have an unusually strong bond, even for cop-and-canine pairings. “The state police train donated dogs for this work, but I bought Jorick myself and donated him to the (state police), where he was assigned to me,’’ Horjatschun said. :”I got him when he was six months old and he stayed home with us until he was old enough to begin training’’ at 18 months. Jorick has a “light switch’’ that he can flip on and off, going from a trained police dog to a playful pet instantly, the trooper said. “If he senses that you’re not a threat there’s no problem. But he’s ready to go to work in a second.’’ Lt.Kenneth Cain, the Troop G commanding officer, said the trooper and his canine have been partners in a dynamic team. “Their teamwork found burglary suspects and located missing children and elderly persons. K9 Jorick led Trooper Horjatschun to find handguns tossed out of vehicles, as well as operators who have fled motor vehicle accidents on foot. It would be an understatement to say that I am very proud of this K-9 team and very sorry to see Jorick leave us.’’ Horjatschun‘s family includes another dog, a Rotweiller they enter in shows. But it is Jorick who leads the canine pack at home, the trooper said. “When we’re away for even a few hours, he’ll shred toilet paper and spread it through the halls. I’ll probably get some big cardboard boxes he can take apart while I’m at work.’’