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Don’t Tell this Heroic Dog Only Cats have Nine Lives

Posted by Robert Hudson Westover, Office of Communications, USDA Forest Service in Forestry
Jul 29, 2021
Ice with his handler Patrol Capt. Christopher Magallon during an event
Ice with his handler Patrol Capt. Christopher Magallon during an event honoring the USDA Forest Service law enforcement dog. Photo USDA Forest Service

When we think of heroic dogs, the fictional collie Lassie and German shepherd Rin-Tin-Tin often come to mind, but life can be more dramatic and amazing than adventurous Hollywood story telling. This is especially true in the case of a highly decorated USDA Forest Service K-9 officer — an 11-year-old Belgian Malinois named Ice.

When Ice and his handler, Patrol Captain Christopher Magallon raided an illegal marijuana grow operation on the Klamath National Forest in California back in August, they unearthed more than 5,500 marijuana plants.

Growing any non-native crop disrupts forest ecosystems. Cultivating marijuana on national forests often results in streams being diverted to irrigate the illegal crops, damaging surrounding ecosystems and harming downstream wildlife. Heavy, unregulated—and sometimes illegal—pesticides are also used, contaminating the land, water, and harming native fish and wildlife.

A small portion of the garbage and debris left in the forest at a drug trafficking organization's marijuana grow site on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in California
Learn More: Cleaning Up Illegal Marijuana Grow Sites

When a suspect fled down a steep hill during the raid, Captain Magallon released Ice.

Ice was then able to catch and hold the suspect until Magallon could make the arrest, but not before Ice was stabbed nine times. Magallon rendered first aid to his canine partner while calling in a helicopter, which flew him more than 70 miles to a veterinary specialty center where his survival was anything but certain.

Fortunately, Ice had worn a protective vest, shielding his vital organs. He was released later that afternoon.

This wasn’t the first time Ice stared down death. In a similar raid in 2016, Ice received multiple stab wounds that were even more severe than during this recent attack. For that incident, Ice was awarded the 2016 Law Enforcement and Investigations Director’s Award for Valor and Heroism.

Among his other accolades and recognitions, Ice was honored as a “Hero Dog” in the international category by American Humane Hero Dogs, where he appeared in a nationally televised award ceremony in 2017.

But even heroic dogs have their day and Ice will be retiring from service this year leaving behind an almost mythical legacy of courage and strength.

Sounds like a blockbuster movie to me.

Category/Topic: Forestry

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Phil Posey
Sep 28, 2020

sounds like a good movie to me too. So glad Ice survived.