Laguna Beach police K-9 dies following cancer diagnosis, honored by O.C. agencies

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K-9 officer Ranger was a six-year veteran of the Laguna Beach police department. Courtesy of Laguna Beach

A Laguna Beach police K-9 officer was humanely euthanized Wednesday following a months-long battle with cancer, according to a press release.

K-9 Ranger, a seven-year-old Belgian Malinois, and his handler Cpl. Zachary Fillers were honored with a salute by law enforcement employees with Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Placentia, Irvine, Brea, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department during their last walk at the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter.

“Corporal Fillers worked tirelessly with veterinarians to try and treat the disease,” the department said in a statement. “Unfortunately, K-9 Ranger’s health rapidly deteriorated to the point where he was in pain and no longer comfortable.”

Orange County police officers and deputy sheriffs salute Laguna Beach K-9 Ranger during his last walk with Cp. Zachary Fillers on June 9 at the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter. Courtesy of Laguna Beach Police Employees’ Association

Ranger joined the force in October 2014 thanks to generous donations from the Laguna Beach Woman’s Club and the Assistance League of Laguna Beach, according to the city website. The K-9 received years of training in Holland prior to coming to the United States.

He was named to honor fallen Laguna Beach police motor officer Jon Coutchie, who was a retired United States Army Ranger.

K-9 Ranger was trained to locate people, evidence, and narcotics. He’s credited with seizing hundreds of grams of illegal narcotics and several hundred pounds of prescription pills in the community.

“K-9 Ranger’s mere presence on calls was often enough to ensure a suspect’s compliance and, in turn, keep members of the public and the officers of the Laguna Beach Police Department safe,” the department said in a statement.

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Daniel is currently managing editor for the Laguna Beach Independent. He first started reporting on Laguna Beach in 2018. Daniel moved to Orange County from his hometown of Santa Barbara in 2008 to attend Chapman University. He wrote for the college newspaper, The Panther, for nearly four years before obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and English with an emphasis in journalism. While attending Chapman, he started interning at the Orange County Register as a community blogger in Orange. In 2012, he was hired as a staff writer covering Orange and Villa Park. He went on to cover the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum as well as housing, development, education, water, and local politics in other Orange County cities. Since leaving the Register in 2015, he has written for Law360, the Foothills Sentry, the Newport Beach Independent, the Laguna Beach Independent, Los Angeles Times Community News, BehindtheBadge.com, and the California Business Journal. When Daniel isn't busy covering Laguna Beach, he serves as ​engagement editor for a nonprofit newsroom, The War Horse. He lives in Irvine with his wife and son.

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