Greenville K9 remembers after being killed by snakebite

GREENVILLE, NC (WITN) – Police officers in Greenville are mourning the sudden loss of one of their K9 officers.

Pepper, a Belgian Malinois, died from a snakebite last week, according to the police department.

Pepper’s trainer discovered what looked like a snakebite after a training session in a wooded area. The K9 received immediate care from a veterinarian.

Greenville Police Officer Bobby Parker is Pepper’s longtime handler and said he didn’t know K9 suffered from snakebite because of his race.

“With something like a snakebite or a wound, those dogs don’t whine, and those dogs don’t let you know they’re hurt, especially a dog like Pepper,” Parker said. “Without having signs like that and of course a snakebite at the start shows no signs because dogs have fur on them. With a human, you would see something right away.

Police don’t know what type of poisonous snake bit Pepper, but they suspect it was a copper head.

He became a K9 officer three years ago thanks to a donation from Diane Kulik, a member of their Police Community Relations Board. The dog was trained in both drug detection and tracking/apprehension.

Kulik wanted to do something in her husband’s memory, so she made a donation and asked Parker to be Pepper’s dog handler when he already had a dog.

“He’s got one that’s an explosive dog, so he doesn’t take him out as often and he was up for a new challenge,” Kulik said. “I hope he gets another dog. I think he will because he’s amazing at training these dogs and working in the field.

“Pepper may have been short in stature, but he was a fiery guy,” the police department said.

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