Orange County

Goodbye Noa: Orange County Deputies Mourn Loss of Beloved K-9

Noa had more than 1,200 drug searches, 400 training hours and 20 felony arrests to her name.

What to Know

  • Noa was a 15-year-old Belgian Malinois who first trained in Europe before joining the OCSD as a part of their Custody Detection Team.
  • Throughout her career, Noa completed more than 400 hours of training, 1,200 drug searches and 20 felony arrests.
  • Noa passed away on Monday, five years after retiring from service.

The Orange County Sheriff’s department mourned the loss on Monday of a beloved service dog whose extensive career spanned multiple departments and more than 20 arrests.

Noa was a 15-year-old Belgian Malinois who first trained in Europe before joining the department as a part of the Custody Detection Team. There, she completed more than 1,200 drug searches and 400 hours of training with her partner.

Eventually, she was transferred to patrol operations at the James A. Musick Facility in Orange County. 

When Noa arrived, she was one of the only females on the team and by far the smallest - but it was clear she wouldn’t let that stop her.

"We got her because she wasn’t big enough for all the apprehension work," said Deputy Jason Hodges, who became Noa’s partner at the Musick Facility. "Ironically, she was the one who tried to pick fights during training."

At first, Hodges was caught off guard by how aggressive the little pooch was.

"I was the goofball at the end of the leash trying to figure her out," he said.

After getting to know each other better, however, a partnership was born. Through five years of working with Hodges, Noa’s detection skills led to over 20 felony arrests.

Noa’s last assignment was with the patrol team, where she rode along with officers and sniffed for drugs in cars that were pulled over. She made over 300 stops in her time here.

Noa retired in 2014, leaving behind a career that solidified her legacy of incomparable service to the police force. She was adopted by Deputy Mark Zwirner, who she stayed with for the remainder of her life.

Earlier this month, the department also grieved the loss of another narcotics K-9, Luna.

The department and those who trained her will keep Noa in their memories as a K-9 who defied the odds to build a lasting legacy of service and relentless energy

"I’ve got lots of stories I can tell about that dang dog," Hodges said. "The greatest assignment I ever had in law enforcement was being her handler."

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