UPDATE: 113 people have donated $9,245 for Judge's medical expenses as of 8:20 p.m. Nov. 13.
WEST DEPTFORD TWP. — A fundraising campaign has been launched to help pay for medical expenses for a retired West Deptford K-9.
Judge, a 9-year-old German Shepherd dog, started his career with West Deptford police in 2007. With his handler, Cpl. Mike Franks, the dog was deployed more than 280 times, in cases such as drug detection, tracking, and apprehension. Judge’s work aided in the arrest of152 people, the seizure of three vehicles, the removal of three handguns off the street, drug seizures and the confiscation of more than $47,000 in cash.
The K-9 also had numerous interactions with children and residents during demonstrations and public events.
Judge was forced to retire in August 2013 because of issues with his teeth. Sgt. John Chambers said Judge had four unhealthy teeth replaced with titanium canine teeth, but they wound up giving the dog problems.
In June 2014, the dog started experiencing health issues, including vomiting, hair loss and bloating. Judge was diagnosed with Cushings Disease and was given medication to control the disease.
In September, Judge started getting nose bleeds and was referred to a specialist, but the exact cause of the new symptoms could not be determined.
On Nov. 7, Judge again started vomiting and showed signs of weakness. Veterinarians found several large masses on Judge’s liver and testicles, along with a blockage of his intestines.
The dog was sent to the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Hospital and the blockage and large masses were removed and biopsied.
Township coverage for the dog’s medical expenses is a maximum of $300 a year, but Judge’s medical bills are now in excess of $10,000.
Judge lives with Franks and his family and is a loved member of the household. Chambers said Franks told him be believes Judge was depressed at not being able to work.
The public is being asked to make donations through a GoFundMe website.
“We’re staying optimistic. They haven’t diagnosed it yet,” said Chambers. “Our hope is that we get back good news and (Judge) can continue to live with Mike.”
Whatever is donated will go for Judge’s medical expenses. Anything over the goal will go to the department’s K-9 fund. The department has two active K-9s.