K-9s Ax, Endo honored with Purple Heart Medals after in-service gunshot injuries

K-9s Ax, Endo honored with Purple Heart Medals after in-service gunshot injuries

Written by: Andrew Gantt

Office of Public Affairs and Media Relations, Volusia Sheriff’s Office

On November 17, Sheriff Mike Chitwood and Georgia nonprofit Irondog K9 International honored K-9s Endo and Ax for their actions responding to an armed car theft in Deltona in September. Both Endo and Ax were shot while working to capture the fleeing suspect.

Both K-9s were awarded the Sheriff’s Office Purple Heart and Irondog K9 Medal of Honor. The Purple Heart is the second retired K-9 Endo since 2016, when he was shot in the neck while answering a domestic disorder call with his therapist, Deputy Brett Whitson. The K-9 Ax is back in service with his handler, Deputy AJ Davis.

Presenting their medals at a gala this morning at the Stephen Sapuda Deputy Training Center, Sheriff Chitwood recounted how one of the first messages he received after the auto theft incident was from Irondog K9, offering to cover the dogs’ medical bills.

“It was this amazing, heartwarming email saying that whatever your organization needs, whatever Endo and Ax needs, we got you,” Chitwood said. “We’ve had medical bills, we’ve had training — tell us what you want.”

Irondog K9 International has contributed more than $25,000 to Volusia Sheriff’s K-9s office and dealers since the September incident, including about $4,000 in medical bills, $4,200 in first aid kits, and more than $18,000 for a 3-day medical training course of K- 9 for each VSO K-9 processor. The chapter is now in progress.

“Our mission is to support K-9s law enforcement and their officials, and we are very excited to be here for them,” said Mitzi Nash of Irondog K9.

Irondog K9 International is a 501c3 organization that supports K-9 teams across the country by providing equipment such as first aid and trauma kits, sponsoring training events such as this week’s seminar, and paying vet bills for an on-the-job injury.

The Sheriff’s Office is grateful to Irondog K9 for their support, training and valuable, potentially life-saving equipment, and the equipment they are providing each handler this week.

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