Longtime Blair police dog dies

Vilo had retired after cancer diagnosis

A longtime Blair County police dog has passed away.

Vilo, a nearly 11-year-old German shepherd who started working with Logan Township Police Officer Matthew Lutz in 2008 when Lutz was employed with the Tyrone Borough Police Department, retired in early August after being diagnosed with cancer.

Logan Township Police Chief Tim Mercer said Tuesday the decision to put Vilo to sleep came Tuesday after the canine was taken by police vehicle to an Ebensburg veterinarian. The dog’s condition had deteriorated after the cancer, which was removed with the dog’s spleen last summer, returned.

“Vilo was one of the most special dogs I’ve ever known,” Mercer said. “He had such an incredible personality, and he performed his duties every day with honor and dedication.”

An impromptu police procession was put together quickly Tuesday to escort the police canine to his final resting place.

Mercer said the department is saddened by Vilo’s passing and it will mourn the loss of a hardworking and dedicated police dog.

“Vilo was such a fixture here,” Mercer said Tuesday. “He would run the hallways of the department, playing with his toys. When officer Lutz was ready to head to his vehicle, Vilo would immediately get serious and be ready to go out and work.”

Mercer said Vilo was fortunate to have a dedicated handler in Lutz and to have lived with a family that loved him as they did. Mercer also thanked the community for the outpouring of sympathy extended to the department and the officers when word got around Tuesday that Vilo had to be put down.

Mercer said Vilo was the face of the department for many years and along with working in every school in Blair County, Vilo was used in neighboring counties in well to search lockers for drugs to help ensure kids were safe. On top of all the drug investigations Vilo took part in, Lutz and Vilo also made hundreds of appearances throughout the area to demonstrate the dog’s drug-sniffing skills to the community.

Mirror Staff Writer Greg Bock is at 946-7458.