K9 Reign

Beloved police K9 takes one final ride in cruiser before being put down

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A beloved police K9, who served with the Town of West Hartford Police Department in Connecticut, was given one final ride in a patrol cruiser before being taken to a veterinarian to be humanely euthanized just days ago. The 14-and-a-half-year-old German shepherd, named “Reign,” had served with the department for six years before retiring from his duties in 2012.

The senior dog was freed from his failing body on Wednesday night. The Town of West Hartford Police Department notified Facebook followers of the dog’s passing this week:

It’s with a heavy heart that WHPD announces the passing of K9 Reign, he was 14.5 years old. K9 Reign and his partner Detective Rosario Savastra spent many years together serving the community, by patrolling, tracking, narcotics detection, and educating our youth and citizens about public safety. K9 Reign was an asset to our department and we honor him today and thank him for his service. Our thoughts are with Det. Savastra and his family.

Detective Rosario Savastra had been partnered with Reign – he told People, about the dedication and work ethic of the police dog:

The best way I can describe it is that Reign was everything. At work, he was a serious, hardcore, high drive, professional athlete who was focused and excelled at any task thrown his way.”

Click here to watch a video of K9 Reign.

Rest easy Reign.

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27 replies
  1. Pennysdachshund says:

    I HAVE to say this Is ONE fine Police department and the Officer Savastra and his family cared for the lovely and dedicated until IT WAS TIME!! He wasn’t toasted in a hot patrol Car, Mishandled , Abused…. He went to the Rainbow Bridge knowing he was loved… That is HOW IT SHOULD BE on POLICE FORCES IN EACH AND EVERY Law Enforcement Center in This COUNTRY !!!

  2. pennysdachshunds says:

    Watching this video and the news report along with the photo panorama of this very dedicated Officer and his Dog on Memorial Day Weekend… really helped me to have a Change of Heart… All cities and towns, officers and departments DO NO TREAT THEIR CANINE PARTNERS WITH BRUTALITY , DEATH IN THEIR VEHICLE , TORTURE!!! This was a very inspirational TRIBUTE TO A BELOVED PARTNER by Hartford Conn…. THANK YOU for SHARING

    • Barkley's Mom says:

      No not all police and military dogs are treated as Sue would have us to believe. Most are loved, and members of families.

      • Sue says:

        Not true, Barkely’s Mom. But what IS true is that most people like a warm and fuzzy story so much that they won’t go any deeper to learn what happens behind the deliberate facade.

      • Barkley's Mom says:

        Sue: If that were true (I won’t go beyond the deliberate facade) I wouldn’t be on here. Your problem is you see a story about a police officer that abuses his dog and then it’s ALL of them. It’s like one Pit Bull bites and it’s ALL of them. I know there are bad police officers, we see them every day, be they abusing people, family pets, their own police dogs, etc. That doesn’t mean it is ALL of them. Your articles are from several years back, how about getting some new material. You have a vendetta against working dogs, and that is all this is!

      • Sue says:

        Barkley’s Mom, Re: “Your problem is you see a story about a police officer that abuses his dog and then it’s ALL of them.”

        The fact is, I have been in the middle of it, and researching at the same time, trying to expose it. I know all the tricks they use.

        Back in 1981, my department, in response to my attempts to expose their cruelty, stated: “We don’t do that now. That was all over with 20 years ago,” meaning they were trying to convince me that what I saw was an illusion, and they had not hanged dogs since 1961. THAT WAS A LIE.

        Then I exposed them STILL doing it six years later. The new response was “It’s been at least 3 years. We don’t do that anymore.” AGAIN, LIES.

        Then they were exposed STILL doing it another 12 years after that. And STILL doing it presently, as are the vast majority of departments. It IS THE RULE, as passed down to them by the MILITARY, their Lord and Master.

        In the decades before there was an animal rights movement, their cruelty was on display in public places. Having an audience of people who were upset but couldn’t do anything to stop them made the sadistic handlers among them feel even more powerful.

        In the past 35 years or so, it has been driven underground, and covered up with the warm, fuzzy P.R. stories, because even though attempts to get individual handlers punished their documented deeds have been unsuccessful, THE DEPARTMENTS DON LIKE BAD P.R.

        And let’s suppose, in some fantasy scenario, a lot of departments weren’t doing it. Then, I suppose, the ones who do torture the dogs should just be ignored and allowed to continue? This is why people prefer the happy utopian picture – then they can have that glorious ignorant bliss, and not have to think about it, or do anything about it.

      • Barkley's Mom says:

        Sue, Instead of preaching to me, go tell the American Humane Association that puts on the Hero Dog Awards that honor all of these alleged POS military and police dogs and handlers every year. I’m sure they will be very interested in seeing what they are honoring and giving awards to. In this day and age with the media leading the charge for injustice in treatment by the police, I find it hard to believe that this can all be swept under the carpet by the police and military handlers who by your accusations must be very good actors putting on academy award performances, abusing their K-9 one day and crying the next when they lose their faithful protector that, according to you, they don’t care about. I will continue to support my hero Military and Police K-9’s and their handlers. Should I ever see all this abuse you are alleging. I will be the first to speak out about it.

        This is a post about a “Beloved” police K-9 that served his community and was treated as a hero in his final days. Why you feel the need to come on here and belittle what Reign meant to his department and community, is beyond my comprehension. But then, if we are to believe you nobody really cared about this dog, it’s just a PR stunt!

      • pennysdachshund says:

        We have three police dogs in our community: and I know the handlers: couldn’t be more dedicated family men and community members… One is on his second dog…. first retired… although this ( strange Nazi like treatment under the guise of training ) may be occurring somewhere in the USA I truly can’t see it happening in ) the majority of our communities…. I also think that video and the Hartford Ct was the real thing not some Promotional propaganda !!!

      • Rose Jrolf says:

        Penny: I would do some investigation in a friendly manner. Ask where they get the dogs and who “trains” them. Ask a little about the trainer. Ask where the K9 police go to get training on how to handle K9 dogs. Then send Sue the Names of Trainers and Kennels and let her do some research and send it to you. She has done much research and written a book on the subject. She was a police dispatcher and at the ‘behind the scenes” conversations. These guys laugh about the torture of dogs and how they have the public fooled. Sue has pictures of dog torture she took at K9 training conventions. I also did not believe it at first but I opened my eyes and I am so hurt by this.

      • Barkley's Mom says:

        Thank you pennysdachshunds, I was beginning to think I was the only person in the US who thought this.

      • Sue says:

        Re: “Thank you pennysdachshunds, I was beginning to think I was the only person in the US who thought this.”

        Well, the two of you actually have a lot of company. The majority of people prefer to believe what makes them feel good.

        By the way, a photo of The American Humane Association giving an award to William Koehler, a military “trainer” of movie canines, appears in one of his own books, which gleefully describes hanging, beating, near drowning, etc. of dogs.

        Did you know this same ‘animal protection organization’ sued Bob Barker after he stated that they did not protect animals from cruelty of their “trainers” on a movie set? Mr. Barker had witnesses and videos, but it never made it into court because the plaintiffs actually have more power and connections. And Mr. Barker isn’t exactly a pauper himself.

        I’m sure you don’t know these things, because it is far from easy to be an activist in the trenches, seeing the dirty truth, the corruption, and life behind the pleasant veneer.

        This, I guess, is the private hell of those who know the truth, trying to share it with an apathetic public. It doesn’t help the dogs, but have a great and happy armchair life.

      • Barkley's Mom says:

        Good lord William Koehler died 24 years ago, are you really still dwelling in ancient history? I’m sorry you are living in your private “Hell” being the only one that knows the “truth”. Instead of preaching to me go do something about it! I have no power, and don’t care whether you think I believe you or not! I don’t believe for one moment that if there were any truth to your allegations that there isn’t someone willing to rock the boat and bring it ALL to light. I’ve seen too many “fake news” about EVERYTHING any more to believe nobody will listen to you. In the mean time I will continue to live in my fantasy land where Military and Police K-9’s and their handler’s are heroes.

      • Rose Jrolf says:

        response to Barkley’s Mom: : Boy do you have us wrong – both my parents were in the armed forces and I voted for Trump. Not every police officer is a hero although some are and they are told how to handle the dogs in training classes and they believe the trainers. If they do not do as they are told they do not get the dog. You can do a lot by asking questions about where the dogs and handlers are trained. You are doing a lot negative by refusing to believe before you investigate and encouraging others not to believe. Why not read Sue’s book?

      • Barkley's Mom says:

        Rose Jrolf, who exactly is sue? Should I look up the book under “Sue’s Book”? I am well aware that “Not every police officer is a hero.” I have seen them kill innocent dogs and people every day. But some are good decent honorable people and I support them. I support Military and police dogs and their handlers, and I will continue, your assuming they are abused doesn’t negate their (the K9’s) honorable service. I will not believe that ALL Police and Military dogs are hung, and slammed to the ground and swung around by their necks to make them obedient. I would like to see the behemoth that is able to do that to a 90 to 100 lb dog! I do NOT believe that if “Sue” has all this evidence that ALL police and military dogs are treated this way, that she is NOT able to bring it to light because of some Military and Police conspiracy! Now leave ME alone, I am intelligent enough to make up my own mind about this situation and don’t need badgering by you or “Sue”! You want to prove your point than do something about it, if it is such a problem!

      • Barkley's Mom says:

        By the way Rose Jrolf voting for Trump does nothing to make ME want to listen to what you have to say, Here’s an idea, take all your data to Trump and see how much HE cares!

      • Barkley's Mom says:

        Of course Trump doesn’t care, the only thing he cares about is TRUMP! Another article from 20 years ago. Thanks!

      • Sue says:

        You have undoubtedly not read the history provided, illustrating that throughout the years, departments have repeatedly denied the abuse, stating it was over and done with 20 years earlier, etc., and then been caught yet again 5 years later, and then again, 12 years later, and again, etc. continuing to do it. You even pooh pooh video taken two years ago, even though it is not an easy task these days to get the evidence, since the practice has been NOT stopped, but driven underground, due to the emergence of the animal rights movement.

        Your steadfast dedication to remaining in blissful ignorance, however, is the feedback I’ve needed to know that all the time and effort, research, and money invested into trying to expose these abominations has been for naught.

      • Barkley's Mom says:

        I HAVE read your “research” and most of it is ancient history. I do not appreciate your calling me “blissfully ignorant” I am capable of reading and forming my own opinion and my opinion is what they did 30 or even 20 years ago doesn’t convince me that it is still going on.In this transparent day and age, I don’t believe anyone (even the police) can hide abuse, everybody is there with their cell phone ready and willing to post it be it fake or real, so how you think they can hide it when they are being accused of all sorts of abuse to humans, I can’t fathom. Nobody is “afraid” of the police, the disrespect is in the news everyday, they have bigger problems than hiding K-9 abuse.

        I have researched our local dog and Akin came from the Czech Republic.to a kennel in Pennsylvania where he and his trainer completed their training. I have NOT been able to find anything derogatory about our department’s or the Kennel’s training program. They even welcome people to drop by and observe and inspect the facility. (of course YOU will see conspiracy and a cover up), they have glowing reports and are highly recommend for their training (again you will see conspiracy and cover up) I have personally met the handler and Akin, I stated before they use my Veterinarian, I KNOW my veterinarian would NEVER cover up any abuse he would find in caring for Akin.

        I am a willing protester, petition signer, I have gone to my senators and congressmen for animal rights, voiced my opinion on medical care for our returning MWD’s and K-9s after retirement. No matter what you think of me I am anti animal abuse and when I see something am not afraid to speak up. I do NOT condone officers that leave their dogs in hot cars anymore than I do the rank and file and I do NOT condone officers that kill family pets, shooting first and claiming “feared for their safety”. I am one of the first to speak out about such abuse! Should I ever see and become aware of the abuse you claim, I will be one of the first to speak up about that. So far all I see is what you are alleging and the occasional story of abuse in the news. I stand by my feeling that not ALL departments are bad! Not ALL handlers are abusive and not ALL K-9s and Military dogs are being abused in the name of service to our communities and country! If I were that closed minded I would be marching with the “Pitt Bull” haters!

    • Sue says:

      After K9 Sony was shot to death by a suspect , the department had a lovely memorial service for him. His handler, Vern Alstot, cried in public. Did Vern hang Sony to unconsciousness behind the scenes while the dog was still alive? YES. Was that part hidden? YES.

      In a news interview, K9 handler Paul Morton said, about his dog, Basko, “I love him like a son.” Did he hang and kick Basko regularly behind the scenes? YES. Did he brag in private about abusing Basko, where the public couldn’t hear? YES.

      When a newspaper doing a public relations piece for another department’s K9 unit unintentionally spilled a couple of beans about an incident involving one of their dogs, who was running full speed at the time (“Johannes Grewe, a police service dog trainer, pulls hard on a blue rope tied to a pinch collar around Nitro’s neck. The animal squeals and careens in a heap on the patchy grass.”), I wrote a letter to the paper. Immediately following that letter was a full editorial piece by Sgt. Glen Grudeis, which included this:

      “I do not recall anyone making the complaint that our canine partners are abused… In the 15 years that I have been associated with the K9 unit, I cannot ever recall any bleeding, suffocation or vocal cord injuries associated with the use of the pinch collar—With the exception of one fractured toe, I cannot think of any training-related injury to any of our dogs that required veterinary care.”

      For someone who knows better, who saw the original news story (even though it was designed to be P.R.), and can read between the lines, is that editorial a load of B.S.? YES.

      Was there any mention of “The animal squeals and careens in a heap on the patchy grass.” from the original article? NO. That was their publishing error, which needed to be buried and forgotten, ASAP.

      Would the paper allow me to submit another letter about the obvious cover up? NO.

      Only those who have been in the middle of it, and tried to break through the wall of camouflage and secrecy, know the depths of deception involved.

      • Barkley's Mom says:

        August 26, 2009 marked the twenty-five year anniversary of K9 Sonny (pronounced “Sony”) who was shot and killed in the line of duty on August 26, 1984. Sonny is the only police canine in the Ventura Police Department’s (VPD) history to die in the line of duty. Really? 33 years ago? Give me a break!

  3. Sue says:

    This is one facet of the PUBLIC RELATIONS FACADE constructed by “law enforcement” agencies, which the media (perhaps, in some cases, unwittingly – but in most cases with complicity) assists with, hiding the routine torture these dogs are subjected to behind the scenes.

    It does get complicated, but one thing is certain. What is done to these dogs when the handlers believe there are no ethical and moral witnesses, is CRIMINAL.


  4. Barkley's Mom says:

    Rest in peace Reign, condolences to your handler, family and fellow police officers, I know how much you will be missed.

  5. susispot says:

    To make it to 14.5 is a very long life for a GSD. May you be free of your aches and be renewed at the bridge. Thank you for your devoted service.


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