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American Hero Dog: Dax

An irreplaceable member of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office is directly responsible for tracking and successfully apprehending more than 70 suspects. He is accountable for finding dozens of missing or endangered children and adults. He participated in 100-plus narcotic searches resulting in seizures of more than 17 kilos of cocaine, heroin and other narcotics. Who is this heroic police officer? It’s Dax, a police K9.

Dax is the nose, eyes and ears for his handler, Officer John Forlenza. He plays an important role as his heightened senses, agility, strength and intuition make him an invaluable partner. He is loyal, watchful and protective of Officer Forlenza and is deemed an instrumental part of the Lake County Sheriff’s office.

Dax’s top deployments in 2018 included tracking and locating a dangerous domestic violence offender who forced his way into a home and then battered and choked a woman until she lost consciousness; capturing a robbery suspect even after the offender struck Dax repeatedly; and, apprehending a wanted fugitive, who was allegedly armed, hiding in the attic of a home covered in fiberglass insulation.

Dax saved the lives of citizens and deputies in late 2018 when he tracked a fugitive who had allegedly committed a burglary, was in the process of stealing a vehicle from its owner and then brandished a gun at pursuing deputies. The fugitive was charged with attempted murder and several other felonies after being located by Dax.

Dax and Officer Forlenzo also enrich the community’s lives through meet and greets and public demonstrations at schools and churches. Dax’s tireless drive, dedication to training, love for police work and incredible success stories have gained him thousands of supporters across the country. He is a hero dog to many.

For that reason, Dax was selected as our well-deserved 2019 American Humane Law Enforcement/Arson Hero Dog. We are so thankful for his service. Voting on this year’s applicants for the 2020 Hero Dog Awards begins on April 2nd. To learn more visit

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