by: MAYGAN BECKERS - Max, one of the Woodburn Police Department's K-9 units, is pictured with his handler and partner Officer Zach Williams. Max died Jan. 31 after complications from a brief illness.Woodburn Police Department’s K-9 named Max passed away on Jan. 31 due to gastric dilatation-volvulus, commonly known as bloat.

Bloat is a disease characterized by a dilated stomach commonly found in large dogs that leads to serious life-threatening complications, according to Woodburn Pet Hospital’s Patrick Paradis, D.V.M. (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine).

“It’s a condition in big dogs where their stomach gets bloated,” said Paradis. “Either they get a twist in their stomach or part of their gastrointestinal track leads to the stomach dilating. They can die from it if they don’t get surgery to correct it. It’s an emergency situation that needs to be remedied right away.”

The city of Woodburn’s communications coordinator Jason Horton stated that Woodburn Police officer Zach Williams watched as the condition began, however it was a severe case where the dog could not be saved.

Max, a Belgian Malinois, began his service in February 2009 with Williams, who was his handler and partner.

“While the loss of one of our officers, whether human or K-9 is always emotional, we take great pride in their commitment to their profession and the manner in which they perform it,” said Interim Police Chief Doug Garrett in a prepared statement. “Max made us all proud.”

While Max worked as a WPD protection and tracking dog, he was deployed more than 90 times, had 35 captures, served on WPD’s Tactical Services Unit, participated in community and educational events and provided safety and security for WPD’s officers and Woodburn citizens.

“Max’s job was to put himself in harm’s way in order to protect his handler and officers,” said Horton. “He had the responsibility of going in first to locate or apprehend subjects who would do whatever it took to get away from, or hide from law enforcement.”

Walmart, Hillyer’s Mid-City Ford, OGA Golf Course and private donation contributions helped WPD purchase Max and allowed Woodburn to continue to offer a K-9 program.

“A large part of this investment is because of the effectiveness demonstrated by Max and passed on to those K-9s that came on after him,” said City Administrator Scott Derickson in a recent blog on the city website. “Max served the Woodburn community well.”

After Max’s passing, WPD has two police K-9 units, Rudy and Grizz. Max will be replaced by a new K-9 that will go through the mandatory training required for deployment in the field at an unspecified time. Officer Williams will then be the dog handler of WPD’s new K-9.

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