Cop K-9 takes third at nationals

Published 9:52 am Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A local K-9 squad came up just short in an effort to repeat as national champions.

Austin police Lt. Matt Holten, officer Eric Blust, Sgt. Jeff Ellis of the county sheriff’s office and a fourth regional handler took second at the 2009 U.S. Police Canine Association’s National Field Trials, which wrapped up last week in Des Moines, Iowa.

Ellis and his decorated dog Tazer — a five-time national champion and 2008 runner-up who is only recently back to competition following leg surgery — took third in the individual competition.

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Sheriff Terese Amazi said just seeing Tazer compete again is great.

“I think it’s pretty amazing with the injuries he’s had,” she said.

Holten and his dog Ghost, who is a offspring of Tazer, came in fifth.

The team originally wasn’t planning on going to the competition because of funding, but a number of donations helped them get there.

“It was a very pleasant surprise,” Holten said before the trials. “We didn’t think we’d be able to go.”