Orange County

Remember the Dog Who Literally Took a Bite Out of Crime? Puskas the Police K-9 is Retiring

The police K-9 is headed into retirement after 5 years with the Santa Ana Police Department.

Puskas, the Santa Ana Police Department K-9 who took a bite out of a pursuit driver last year, is set to retire after 5 years of service. The police dog completed his last day with the department on Friday. 

The K-9 officer helped apprehend a wanted felon who led police on a high-speed chase prior to crashing into several vehicles and committing a violent carjacking on Feb, 26, 2018. Puskas took down the suspect, Antonio Padilla Jr. of Palm Desert, but Padilla fought back. 

The 38-year-old convicted robber knocked out six of the dog's teeth. 

Puskas underwent surgery the following day at VCA Yorba Regional Animal Hospital.

For his "selflessness and bravery through it all" the animal hospital awarded the dog a "purple heart." 

Padilla was sentenced to 19 years and four months in prison for multiple felonies: assault with a weapon on a police officer, carjacking, assault with a deadly weapon, harming an officer's dog and leading police on a chase.

"What was great about that day was that the world got to see what our dogs do," Puskas' handler Officer Luis Galeana told NBCLA in 2018 during a ride-along on the dog's first day back to work.

Over the years, Puskas has had metal rods put in his mouth, been bitten by a rattle snake and undergone two more surgeries to fix his jaw after the above mentioned pursuit takedown. 

Galeana and Puskas have worked side by side for 5 years, but the 10-year-old dog is about to turn in his badge. 

Puskas is headed into retirement with a resume of accolades. He's been deployed 100 times, apprehended 50 suspects and successfully completed more than a dozen takedowns. 

Galeana says the infamous takedown has no effect on the police K-9.

"Zero. Not at all. He was right back to his old self. Ready to come to work, happy and excited to be here, and ready to take on the next bad guy." 

But Galeana says old habits die hard. He's actually weening Puskas into the slow life, trying to convince him it's OK to stay home and kick back. 

"It's going to be easy for me. It may not be as easy for him. All he knows is we get up, we get dressed and we come to work," Galeana said. 

As Puskas moves into retirement, another police K-9 is set to take his place: Mojo. 

The 2-year-old Dutch shepherd is 82 lbs. of play and muscle and just days away from joining the police force. He's got "big paws to fill," though. 

The two alpha dogs will live separately at the Galeana home, but Puskas can pull rank on the new dog. He gets to sleep on the bed. 

"I'm happy that he's retiring, but sort of sad that I'm taking away what he loves to do," Galeana added. 

You can follow Puskas into retirement on his Instagram account @k9puskas

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