By Ralph Iannotti

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — An Allegheny County Police drug-sniffing dog had to be put down by his owner this week after becoming ill.

Dakota was a 70-pound Golden Retriever-Lab mix.

His partner was told by a veterinarian that there was nothing that could be done to save the dog.

County Police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said the dog was not purchased by the county, or the officer, but rather it came to the police force after it was taken from an animal shelter.

Dakota spent most of his life sniffing out meth, cocaine, pot, mushrooms, hash, heroin and other drugs.

His owner told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti, “Dakota did make a difference. He was never one to quit, no matter what time, day or night. He was willing and eager to go to work.”

Holding back tears, the officer – who did not want to be identified because of his undercover narcotics work – said that his partner always had the drive.

While the two had to work hard to bond initially, for most of the past nine years, they were inseparable.

“Dakota was the most loyal partner that one could have,” the undercover officer said.

Dakota became a big part of the officer’s family, as well as being his faithful on-the-job partner.

“He trains the dog at home, cares for the dog. He’s everything to that dog, and the dog is everything to him,” said Moffatt.

The two worked mostly at Pittsburgh International Airport.

The officer estimates that he and Dakota, working together, were responsible for confiscating as much as $15 million of drugs and cash.

“Dakota did make a difference,” the officer said. “He was one dog able to perform his duties to the fullest, without any gripes, with pride.”

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