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K9 Billy

K9 Billy.jpg

End of Watch September 6th, 1988

William von Neubungelow (Billy) was a German Shepherd imported to the Sacramento Sheriff's Office from Germany when he was two years old. Billy's strong points were his size and strength weighing in at 93lbs. Billy also had a strong drive and a great ability to track suspects. While Billy was all business at work, he was also a gentle giant who loved playtime and children. Billy was paired with Deputy Keith Schmalz; together the team served the residents of Sacramento County. 

Tuesday, September 6th, 1988, Deputy Schmalz saw a white Monte Carlo driving out from behind a closed business. While Deputy Schmalz followed the vehicle, he saw the occupants throw something out the car window. Deputy Schmalz attempted to pull the vehicle over; the driver refused and a pursuit ensued. 

The pursuit terminated at the rear parking lot of an apartment complex where two subjects fled from the vehicle on foot with a third subject remaining inside the car. 

A cover officer chased a passenger from the vehicle on foot while Deputy Schmalz and K9 Billy pursued the driver on foot. As Deputy Schmalz approached the suspect vehicle, he observed the third subject slouched down in the back seat of the car. Deputy Schmalz determined the third subject was a young juvenile so he continued after K9 Billy. 

About 75 yards into the apartment complex, Deputy Schmalz located Billy lying on the sidewalk. who had been shot twice with a .22 caliber revolver. Billy was rushed to the veterinarians hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. 

The suspect would later be identified as Terry Dorsey who would be apprehended approximately one week later after an intensive search and investigation. At the time, Dorsey was a parolee at large who had five active warrants  for his arrest at the time of the shooting. Dorsey had three prior parole violations earlier that year and knew he would be going back to prison if he was apprehended. Dorsey had an extensive and violent arrest history including several armed robberies, kidnap and rape. 

When Dorsey was apprehended, the most damning piece of evidence against him was several deep punctures and lacerations to his right buttock. Dorsey made a statement that a police canine had bitten him. Dorsey stated he tried punching and kicking Billy to stop him from biting him but Billy would not let go. Dorsey said he shot Billy to prevent him from going back to prison. Deputy Schmalz had no doubt Dorsey intended to shoot him to avoid arrest meaning Billy had saved his life. 

Ted Dorsey was convicted of multiple felon charges by a jury and sentenced to the maximum time allowed by the law; eleven years and eight months. During the trial, there were several times where jurors visibly wept during testimony about Billy's life and accomplishments. 

Billy's loss was felt deeply by Deputy Schmalz and his family. Billy was memorialized in a public ceremony where he was awarded Resolutions by the California State Senate and the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, recognizing his contributions, accomplishments and his ultimate sacrifice for his partner and community. Billy's death prompted a change in state law which made injuring or killing a police service animal a felony. 

During his short career, Billy had in excess of 100 felony apprehensions. Most of these apprehensions involved dangerous suspects committing violent crimes. There is no way to quantify how many crimes Billy prevented or lives he saved. It can only be said that Billy served both his partners and community faithfully, loyally and courageously. 

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