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Ranger Police Department dismisses handler of deceased K-9

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RANGER, Texas - Ranger Police Chief Larry Watson confirmed Thursday that his department had dismissed the handler of Zeke, the K-9 officer who died earlier this week.

The 3-year-old Dutch Shepherd was found unresponsive in a patrol car Monday morning. He later died at a vet clinic.

The dismissed officer's identification wasn't immediately released. It remains unclear if the officer faces any criminal charges.

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Ranger police are investigating the death of the department's K-9 officer Zeke.

The 3-year-old Dutch Shepherd was found unresponsive in a patrol car Monday morning. He later died at a vet clinic.

An autopsy will be performed at Texas A&M University in College Station.

Chief Larry Watson told KTXS he could not release more information about Zeke's death, including the status of his handler, pending the outcome of the investigation.

Zeke joined the department in April after being medically retired by the Abilene Police Department. APD Chief Stan Standridge said a "veterinarian discovered Zeke had arthritis that may have progressed as he got older."

Watson said they purchased Zeke for $3,000, half being paid for by donations from citizens. The chief would not say why Ranger PD was okay with purchasing a dog that had been medically retired by another department.

The Texas Rangers are assisting with the investigation.

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