Since Rudy started duty in July 2000, he performed about 3,000 assists and was directly responsible for 13 arrests, Lewis said. The 4-year-old Belgian Malinoise excelled in police dog training, Spicer said. “Rudy had a very sensitive nose and he loved to search,” Spicer said. “He loved to send people to jail. He was truly an exceptional dog.” Perez recalled the first time he saw Rudy. “He was an 80-pound ball of brown fur with more energy than anything I’d ever seen,” he said. “Later, I discovered Rudy was also 80 pounds of heart, dedication and love.” Rudy is the first Oxnard police service dog killed in the line of duty since the department’s K-9 unit was established in 1980, Lewis said. A local auto dealer and an Oxnard resident have donated the estimated $8,500 needed to purchase and train another service dog, which Perez will handle, Lewis said. In the days after Rudy’s death, Perez was unsure whether he wanted to continue to be a K-9 officer, Lewis said. But Perez, who dreamed of being a K-9 officer as a child growing up in Oxnard, will be matched with the new dog when selected.
A police dog died after being stabbed by a knife-wielding man who threatened an Oxnard officer, authorities said Saturday. Rudy, a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois who has served with the Oxnard Police Department for nearly two years, was pronounced dead at an emergency veterinary hospital Friday night, Cmdr. Mike Matlock said. Rudy was the first Oxnard police dog killed in the line of duty, Cmdr. Scott Whitney said. Police arrested Timothy Paul Knight, 20, of Oxnard, on suspicion of stabbing a police service dog causing death, brandishing a deadly weapon on a police officer, resisting arrest and a probation violation. Knight was treated at a hospital for dog bites and was being held in the Ventura County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bail. An officer tried to stop Knight for a traffic violation about 6:30 p.m. in the 1700 block of Tehama Street, Matlock said. Knight ran into his grandmother’s house and knocked her to the ground while fleeing from the officer, Matlock said. The grand-mother sustained minor injuries and was treated at the scene by paramedics. About 30 minutes later, officers saw Knight riding in another vehicle. A K-9 officer, J.R. Perez, stopped the car at Ventura Road and Hill Street, and Knight got out with a knife in his hand, Matlock said. Knight taunted the officer from 10 to 15 feet away with the knife in his hand and then fled, and Perez directed Rudy to pursue him, Matlock said. Rudy was stabbed after he caught Knight, Matlock said. Even after receiving the fatal wound, Rudy continued to subdue Knight until officers were able to arrest him, Whitney said. “He had a stab wound and he was still doing his job,” Whitney said. “It wasn’t until they put the handcuffs on the suspect that the dog lay down.”