Section of animal park dedicated to heroic Customs service dog - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Section of animal park dedicated to heroic Customs service dog

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A special canine officer is remembered in a dedication ceremony today. A few years ago, KUAM partnered with Customs and Quarantine to see what it was like to work in the force alongside drug detector dogs. That's where we met Toya, who stole our hearts.

Though she's no longer with us, her memory will live on.

Dogs like Speedy will get their much needed exercise and playtime here. The dog was delighted to make new friends today. But this is not just any park for dogs. Today, the gated area just in front of Guam Animals in Need in Yigo was dedicated to a very special dog.

"This park as we see right here, they put her name up," Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency director James McDonald explained. "They have her picture right here - our guys came here and helped clean up this place."

Toya, the black Labrador retriever, worked tirelessly to fight the war on drugs. "Toya is not just a dog," he said. "She was an officer. And a great officer."

Toya is responsible for the seizure of over $6.2 million of crystal methampethamine being smuggled into Guam's borders. That's in additional to sniffing out over $40 thousand worth of marijuana.

After six years as a drug detector dog, she returned home with her handler before finding her forever home.

Earlier this year, Toya fell victim to animal cruelty. She was discovered far from her family with a large cut to her stomach - what looked like a machete.

McDonald added, "This thing is so special for us. It was very traumatic how she was put to rest, but there was a reason for that. Something good has come out of that. We just want to keep it out there in the community that you can't be treating animals like that. They're like human beings."

GAIN board president Cyrus Luhr says her memory will live on in these gates for other dogs to enjoy, noting, "It's a nice way to remember her going into the future."

The hope is to continue the partnership between GAIN and Customs, and potentially train GAIN dogs to work. "We've talked about it," said McDonald. "And as a matter of fact, the guys that are certified to train, they come up here pretty often."

Lurh added, "It's been done in the past. Not drug service dogs, but animals adopted from GAIN have been trained in the past to sniff out rhino beetles and other invasive species, and there's nothing preventing any of our animals being able to be used as drug dogs, as well."

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