August 3, 2005



Details:  For the second time in less than a year, the Lodi Police Department sadly announces the tragic loss of a police canine.  “Tosca,” an 8 year old Dutch Shepherd, died at the Sacramento Surgical Veterinary Hospital on July 21st, after it was discovered that she was suffering from an inoperable blood clot on her aorta.   


Tosca had been partnered with Officer Steve Nelson for the last seven months.  She had returned to duty from retirement to replace Officer Nelson’s previous K-9 partner, Ringo, who passed away in October of 2004 after a battle with cancer.


Tosca joined the Lodi Police Department in January of 2000.  She was 1 1/2 years old when she was imported from Holland.  She was assigned to Officer Brian Freeman and the two trained together extensively on the skills needed by a patrol K-9 team.  Officer Freeman and Tosca then served together for about 3 years, performing building searches and apprehending fleeing suspects.  Tosca retired from patrol duty in January of 2003, and was living with Officer Freeman and his family when Officer Nelson’s first partner, Ringo died of cancer.  The decision was made to bring Tosca out of retirement until funding could be obtained for a new dog.    


Sgt. Chris Jacobson, supervisor of the LPD K-9 Team, said that Officer Nelson was extremely dedicated to the canine unit, working with three different dogs.  He began his tenure with the unit working with Canine Annie, a black Labrador Retriever, who was trained as a narcotics detection dog.  Once Annie was retired Officer Nelson began working with Ringo.  The pair worked together until Ringo passed away as a result of cancer.  Tosca was brought out of retirement to work as Officer Nelson’s partner for the past seven months. 


Sgt. Jacobson felt that Tosca was one of the best canines he has ever seen.  Officer Nelson and Tosca recently finished 4th overall in the Redondo Beach Canine Competition, besting 40 other dog teams from Southern California and the State of Oregon.  She was affectionately known as “Momma Dog” because 4 of her puppies became working police dogs, including recently retired Canine Max who worked with Officer Mike Oden.


There is also a financial side to this tragedy.  Police dogs are purchased through a combination of city budget monies and donations.  (Due to training and liability issues, donations of dogs are no longer a feasible option.) Replacing Tosca will cost in excess of $5,000 and will not be an easy task given the current budgetary situation.  The service that a police K-9 team provides is invaluable, however, and a new dog will be sought. For the moment however, we mourn the loss of another faithful servant; “Momma Dog”.



Contact:  Lt. William Barry at 209-329-2966 or