Hillsborough Police Dog Viper to Retire

Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017
Hillsborough Police Dog Viper to Retire
K-9 Officer Viper is enjoying retired life with his handler’s family. The German shepherd dog’s name was selected by Orange County Schools elementary students.

Viper’s career as a scent-tracking, suspect-locating police dog has come to an end, but the K-9 officer is settling into a comfortable retirement.

Viper, who joined the Hillsborough Police Department in early 2012, will be recognized for his service at the Hillsborough Board of Commissioners meeting on Nov. 13.

The 8-year-old police dog has developed an unidentified medical condition that makes it no longer possible for him to walk long distances or to work. Among noteworthy actions in his time with the department, he assisted the State Highway Patrol by locating a person who ran from a vehicle stop in Orange County, assisted the Hillsborough Police Department by locating guns that a suspect buried in a pile of rubble, and located narcotics several times in vehicles and buildings.

“What these dogs are capable of is really amazing,” said Police Officer Mike Toellen, who began serving as Viper’s handler in the fall of 2015 due to Cpl. Mike Foushee’s retirement. “What they can do with their nose, the smallest scent they can find, it’s something to see.”

In retirement, Viper will continue to live with Toellen’s family, where he has developed a strong bond with Toellen’s young son, Jaxon.

“Viper turned his role from being with me to being with Jaxon,” Toellen said. “Wherever Jaxon is, Viper is. They play in the yard. He sleeps on the trundle bed below Jaxon. It’s priceless.”

The town’s other K-9 officer, Vader, continues to work with Senior Cpl. Scott Foster. Hillsborough’s K-9 officers are dual-purpose patrol dogs. In addition to protecting their partners and apprehending suspects, they are able to locate narcotics, track people, perform building searches and locate items, such as discarded weapons.