Legacy of Heroic OPP Canine Lives on at OPP Museum

OPP Hosts Recognition Event as Cloud II's Remains Move to GHQ

ORILLIA, ON, Jan. 20, 2012 /CNW/ - The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) held a special recognition ceremony at their General Headquarters (GHQ) in Orillia for Cloud II, the legendary German Shepherd who was the first OPP Canine Unit police dog to give his life in the line of duty in 1975.

The heroic tracking dog was initially buried at the former OPP district headquarters in North Bay, but his remains were exhumed in November (2011) in order to relocate him to The OPP Museum at GHQ before the OPP vacates the North Bay facility later this year.

Cloud II was a well-known and respected police dog.  During his four-year career with then Provincial Constable Ray Carson, together they captured 123 fugitives.  Cloud II was also inducted into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame in 1974 for his "unflinching courage against great odds" - praise he earned for his daring disarming of two escaped juveniles in which he retrieved a loaded gun and a knife from the suspects who were hiding in a fishing hut.

Considered by many in North Bay to be a local hero for his bravery and dedication, Cloud II often visited schools and attended public events.  Sadly, Cloud II was shot and killed on September 2, 1975 while tracking a wanted fugitive to a cabin about 30 kilometres northeast of Sudbury.

Recognizing the contributions of past and current OPP Canine Unit teams was another highlight of the event.  OPP members, local dignitaries, retired and active Canine Unit handlers, their dogs and Friends of The OPP Museum members were in attendance to hear stories about Cloud II and how his legacy persists in the Canine Unit's operations today.

Cloud II's remains have been laid to rest in a special stone urn and will remain on display at The OPP Museum along with his photo and a plaque that tells his story.

PHOTOS OF CLOUD II
http://www.opp.ca/media/cloudII/2004-42-186-RayCarsonAndCloudII.jpg
http://www.opp.ca/media/cloudII/2004-42-197-CloudII.jpg

Cloud II Backgrounder
http://www.opp.ca/media/cloudII/BACKGROUNDER-Cloud-II-FINAL.pdf

OPP Canine Unit Backgrounder
http://www.opp.ca/media/cloudII/BACKGROUNDER-OPP-Canine-Unit-FINAL.pdf

Visit The OPP Museum website at http://www.opp.ca/museum/en/index.php

Cloud II - A Hero's Life

During their four-year partnership, Cloud II and his handler, then-Provincial Constable Ray Carson, succeeded in capturing 123 fugitives.  Cloud II was a well-known member of the OPP's canine team having appeared, along with Carson, on Front Page Challenge on November 5, 1974, where they "stumped" the panel.

Hall of Fame, 1974

Cloud II was also a Purina Hall of Fame member. Given the task of capturing three escaped juvenile offenders who were presumed to be armed, Cloud II and Provincial Constable Carson approached a fishing hut where two of the offenders were believed to be hiding.

On command, Cloud II entered the hut and emerged with a loaded rifle. He then forced another to give up a knife. The third escapee, who had earlier run off, was tracked down at a nearby cottage and also disarmed of a large club by Cloud II.

"For his unflinching courage against great odds," Cloud II earned the distinction of becoming a member of the Purina Animal Hall of Fame, on September 12th, 1974, as he had clearly demonstrated the "courage, perseverance, and dedication" required of an Ontario Provincial Police dog.

The five year-old 90 lb. (41 kg.) German Shepherd was trained for search and rescue work, trailing and apprehending wanted or escaped persons and to search out hidden caches of drugs like marijuana or hashish.

Tragically, Cloud II was shot and killed in the line of duty in 1975

A suspected murderer who escaped while awaiting trial was the subject of a large-scale manhunt during the summer of 1975 in the North Bay area.  Provincial Constable Ray Carson and his dog, Cloud II, were one of the canine teams involved in the search when Cloud II picked up the suspect's trail approximately 40 kilometres east of Sudbury.  On the following day, Carson and Cloud II caught up to the suspect outside a cabin in a bush clearing.  During the attempt to capture the fugitive, who was armed with a 30-30 calibre rifle, Cloud II was shot and killed. The wounded suspect was captured later that afternoon.

Cloud II is the only OPP dog to have been killed in the line of duty, and he was the first police dog to be killed in Ontario.

Fittingly, he was buried on the grounds of the Ontario Provincial Police District Headquarters in North Bay with numerous officers, local citizens and school children (many of whom he had met during class visits with Constable Carson) in attendance.

In memory

Cloud II's memory continues to be honored by the Ontario Provincial Police as his remains were relocated recently to The OPP Museum at OPP General Headquarters in Orillia.  The relocation came as a result of a move by the OPP facility to a new site in North Bay, and the desire of local officers to not to leave him behind.  A recognition ceremony was held in Orillia on January 20, 2012 to mark the occasion. 

OPP Canine Unit

Backgrounder

  • The OPP Canine Unit was formed in 1965, at which time only three teams were trained to provide support services to all of the OPP and other law enforcement agencies across the province.
  • There are currently 28 teams, each team consisting of a dog and a handler.  There are also an additional 16 dogs trained for specific detection duties.
  • Each team is stationed at strategic points throughout the province, providing canine support for search and rescue, tracking wanted persons, detecting narcotics, searching for cadavers, as well as firearms, explosives and physical evidence.
  • Canine teams are also involved in community service work, fundraising and public demonstrations.
  • Canine teams undergo 16 weeks of intensive training at the OPP Academy Canine Training Centre in Gravenhurst, Ontario.
  • Training includes promoting obedience and exposing dogs to obstacles such as stairways, heights, ladders, tunnels, water, teeter-totters, stationary jumps, plank walls, door jumps, culvert crawls and belly crawls.  These obstacles are designed to eliminate the dog's fear of barriers and impediments.
  • Tracking is also an important emphasis in training.  Training the dogs to follow specific human scent over various terrain in all weather conditions requires determination, concentration and patience.
  • OPP dogs are also trained to protect their handler on command, even in the face of gunfire.
  • Much to the surprise of many, OPP dogs are rewarded by attention and opportunities to play rather than with food.
  • Careful consideration is given to the selection of both dog and handler.  German Shepherds, aged approximately 18 to 24 months are chosen for general service duties.
  • German Shepherds are renowned for their keen sense of hearing and smell, their even temperament, stability, alertness and for their dependability in various weather conditions.
  • There are also Labrador retrievers in the OPP's Canine Unit, given that they possess many of the same keen senses that shepherds do.
  • OPP canine handlers have a minimum of three years of policing experience, possess a high degree of self-discipline and patience, a favorable attitude towards animals and they must be in top physical condition in order to keep pace with their dogs.
  • Each dog lives at the handler's home and stays in an outside kennel provided by the OPP.  These outdoor shelters help dogs develop a proper heavy undercoat that will protect them during cold weather assignments.
  • Canine teams use a specially designed vehicle to provide proper security for the dog and special equipment storage.
  • OPP canine teams are on-call 24 hours a day for assignments anywhere in Ontario.

SOURCE Ontario Provincial Police

For further information:

Chris Johnstone            
A/Curator, The OPP Museum 

Phone: (705) 329-6889


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