Success in police work came early and emphatically for K-9 Kora. In her first year on the job in 2003, Kora tracked two armed men suspected of robbing a Bloomfield McDonald’s. Kora found the men hiding in the woods, grabbed one of the suspect’s arms and was punched repeatedly in the head.
Kora’s teeth were broken but she never let go. She received a West Hartford police merit award for her actions.
» Rocheleau: “I was met at the vet with my old cruiser, and we were able to give Kora one last ride in her old car.”
On Monday, Kora, who received the state’s highest K-9 honor in 2005, was put down because of complications from cancer common to old age, Lt. David Dubiel said.
She received a final ride in a police cruiser with Officer Eric Rocheleau, who teamed with Kora for half of his 18-year career.
“Officer Rocheleau and Kora served as a team with distinction from 2003 to 2011,” Dubiel said. “They were an exceptional K-9 team.”
Kora, who was retired in August, turned 11 on Dec. 19.
Kora received multiple public letters of commendation during a career that included tracking, searching, drug sniffing, criminal apprehension, training and community relations.
In February 2005, Kora was called to a traffic stop and sniffed out 196 bags of heroin that were hidden in an engine. Four days later, Kora uncovered 66 more bags of heroin after a car was pulled over.
Kora also helped Rocheleau and West Hartford police seize more than 55 pounds of marijuana over a five-week span in 2005. Her efforts earned the Daniel Wasson Memorial K-9 Award from the Connecticut Police Work Dog Association (CPWDA).
In her career, Kora contributed in the seizure of 205 pounds of marijuana, 458 bags of heroin and 492 oxycodone pills. She also led police to quantities of cocaine, ecstasy and hashish. Kora’s involvement in drug investigations led to the seizure of nearly $100,000 in cash.
“She will be missed,” said Dubiel, who supervises the K-9 unit. “Our hearts go out to Officer Rocheleau and his family. Kora had become a big part of their family.”
Kora was credited with 117 captures or arrests, according to Dubiel. She was required to use force only seven times.
Rocheleau told The Courant that a veterinarian’s examination revealed tumors on Kora’s spine and liver and internal bleeding. A second veterinarian’s diagnosis concluded that Kora should be put to sleep, Rocheleau said.
On Monday, Kora went for a final ride in Rocheleau’s cruiser. Many officers also had a chance to say goodbye.
“I was met at the vet with my old cruiser, and we were able to give Kora one last ride in her old car,” Rocheleau said.
Kora, a German shepherd who was born in the Czech Republic, was well known in law enforcement, aiding 243 police calls in neighboring towns. Kora also participated in 175 police dog demonstrations for the public, Dubiel said.
K-9s started serving in West Hartford in 1992 and have won the CPWDA’s Wasson Award twice, including in 2002, when Dubiel teamed with Luke. Laser and Saber also preceded Kora, who was WHPD’s first female K-9.
Officer Rosario Savastra, president of the CPWDA, and Reign have teamed since 2006.
Inserv, a Manchester pet crematory, donated services and a wooden urn for Kora.