Nova Scotia

Demon replaces injured Crosby as new RCMP dog

There's a new RCMP dog in Halifax, as a feisty 15-month-old named Demon replaces the retiring Ronin.
Const. Brent Bates plays with his new partner, Demon, in Halifax Tuesday. (CBC)
There's a new RCMP dog in Halifax, as a feisty 15-month-old named Demon replaces the retiring Ronin.

Const. Brent Bates said police dogs usually work until they are seven or eight years old, but Ronin was stepping down early at five-and-a-half.

Bates said his canine companion had lost his enthusiasm for the job. He had had back surgery, which slowed him down, and had to have a tooth replaced at one point in his career.

"Just like some human police officers have to retire early if they aren't having fun," Bates said Tuesday. "He's burnt out."

Ronin was supposed to have been replaced by Crosby. That dog was named after hockey hero Sidney Crosby by students at Colby Village Elementary School, but he is injured and unable to work.

Bates explained it turned out Crosby had elbow trouble, with arthritis in his joints. "He'll be fine as a pet, but not as a working dog because of all the jumping we expect out of the dogs," he explained.

RCMP dog Ronin is retiring after four years of service. (CBC)
Bates and Ronin started working together in 2007 in B.C. and moved to Bates' native Nova Scotia in 2009. 

Bates said some career highlights with Ronin in Nova Scotia include the time they spent a midnight hour searching for a lost girl one February. Ronin tracked her down and paramedics were able to save her.

In another case, he said Ronin tracked down a fleeing suspect in a murder last year.

"I'll miss his company more than anything. He literally goes everywhere with me," Bates said.

Ronin is retiring to a family home in Dartmouth. Bates said he would like to have kept  the dog, but he will be busy with his new partner and wanted Ronin to go with someone who could be 100 per cent devoted to him.  

"He's been a great partner. I hate to see him retire. He's ready to move on. He'll make a great couch potato," Bates said.

The new dog is called Demon and was bred and trained at the RCMP program in Red Deer, Alt. It costs between $60,000 and $100,000 to raise and train a police dog.

Bates has worked with Demon, who has one brown eye and one orange eye, for three weeks and they should hit the streets together in July. He noted the pup has a sunny disposition toward people.

"He thinks everyone is a good guy," he said.