TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - A Terre Haute Police K-9 is retiring as the department prepares to welcome a new dog into the ranks.
K-9 Luca has served this community for eight years. His handler says Luca may be the most successful drug-sniffing dog the department has ever seen.
Luca's handler Sergeant Adam Loudermilk says, "Even at ten years old he still has that mentality about him. He's always ready to go and always amped-up, ready to work."
Sgt. Loudermilk says Luca already hates that he cannot go to work anymore.
"It tears him up. He just kind of looks at me through the door like, am I not going today?"
Pinched nerves in his spine are causing Luca to trip over his own feet. Without many treatment options, Sgt. Loudermilk decided to retire Luca last week to avoid causing more damage.
"He is supposed to tell himself to flip his feet back and with the spine issues and the nerves, half the time it's working and half the time it's not registering to him that he needs to flip them back."
It's a big hit to the department. Luca's nose is responsible for some significant drug busts including what could be one of the biggest psychedelic mushroom seizures in the country, and many more.
"In 2017, he had a traffic stop which led to three arrests and there were almost sixteen pounds of methamphetamine in the vehicle which was the largest methamphetamine seizure in Vigo County history."
Sgt. Loudermilk says Luca, and K-9s like him, have a big impact.
"It's a big game changer when you go up to a scene and you have a dog with you or you're getting ready to search a car that does have narcotics in it. It helps out tremendously, it really does."
Now K-9 Luca will hang up his harness and live out his days as a family dog.
"At this time he's going to be a house dog and enjoy retirement hopefully, for a few years."
The K-9 program is funded by the community through donations. If you'd like to contribute just contact your local police agency.
Top Guns in Terre Haute made a sizable donation to Terre Haute Police for the purchase of a new K-9. That dog will be introduced to the public at a press conference Friday afternoon. The dog is named Pitts in honor of fallen Officer Rob Pitts.
News 10's Heather Good will have that story later this week.