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Springettsbury Township Police are mourning one of their own after K-9 Petro was put down Thursday night.

Lt. Tony Beam confirmed Petro, an 11-year-old German shepherd handled by Officer William Polizzotto, was gravely ill with a medical issue.

"He (was) anemic and losing his blood somewhere (internally)," Beam said. "They're not 100 percent sure."

Petro's veterinarian narrowed the possible culprits, one of which was cancer, according to the lieutenant.

The cross-trained dog started showing signs of illness earlier this week, he said.

Polizzotto bought Petro, who came here from Germany, and went through training with him, and the K-9 joined the force in June 2010, Beam said.

"He's holding up," Beam said of the officer. "The hardest part (of dog ownership) is when you have to do this."

Petro was Polizzotto's second K-9 partner. His first was Ike, also a German shepherd, according to Beam.

Versatile K-9: Petro was trained in tracking, narcotics work, apprehension and officer protection, the lieutenant said.

The K-9 worked all over York County, helping to search for criminal suspects and missing people, and doing searches for drugs and weapons, Beam said.

Petro was in schools across the county numerous times, searching for drugs, according to the lieutenant.

Beam said it will be up to township supervisors to decide whether the department will get another K-9 officer.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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