Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott has announced the untimely passing of one of his K-9 Deputies.

K-9 Deputy Tosca was taken off of a ventilator at a local veterinarian hospital, following a yet to be determined illness. Yesterday evening Tosca’s handler, Richland County Sheriff’s Deputy Emily Lemmond found Tosca having what appeared to be a seizure. Deputy Lemmond rushed Tosca to the Department’s vet, where life-saving measures were taken; eventually it was determined Tosca could not be saved.

Tosca was a Belgian Malinois and full service patrol dog around two years of age. Tosca had completed extensive training in drug detection, area tracking, suspect apprehension etc.

Lott said over the course of training a K-9 Deputy and his or her handler become as one, he is requesting that the community keep Deputy Lemmond and RCSD in its thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.

A necropsy is being scheduled and will hopefully determine the cause of Tosca’s death.