When Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Transit Policing Division K9 Handler Scott Maus and his family went to the veterinarian’s office on Saturday, December 20th, 2014, he said it felt surreal. He had taken his explosives detection K9 partner, Bart, to this vet many times before, but this time the Maus family would be saying farewell to a member of their clan. Bart had been ill for several days, but his doctors were unable to figure out the problem.
As his condition rapidly worsened, Maus continued to look for answers. The vets finally discovered that Bart had terminal intestinal cancer and gave him only days or even hours to live.
This trip to the vet would indeed be different for Maus and his family as the decision had been made to relieve Bart of his constant pain.
“I’ve known coworkers and other department members that have been ill and even tragically passed on, but I didn’t live with any of them. Bart was the first partner that I ever had that came home with me every night.”
Bart, an 8-year-old, 80 pound, Transportation Security Administration trained explosives detection German shepherd, had been paired with Maus since August of 2009. Maus, a 25-year veteran of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, had been selected to be part of a pilot program within the Sheriff’s Transit Policing Division to deploy the highly trained K9’s to provide another layer of safety and early detection/prevention for the patrons who use the LA Metro system.
Maus and Bart had trained together for 3 months in Texas to see if they were not only compatible, but also to see if Bart could handle the transition from military life to municipal law enforcement. Bart was a veteran of the war in Afghanistan and was an Air Force explosives detection K9 during his 19- month deployment.
Deputy Maus said, “I didn’t know how to tell my family that we needed to do the right thing for Bart. He was in obvious pain and could hardly eat or do anything.”
Bart had become part of the Maus family and was just as at home playing in his backyard as he was searching for explosives or illicit material on the Metro bus and rail system.
“He really got along great with his K9 partners and with the public. He loved the attention, but was all business when it came to work. I believe he was one of the better detection K9’s on our crew”, Maus says proudly. “He’ll always be my first K9 partner and I’ll never forget him.”
Deputy Maus has since been keeping busy breaking in his new K9 partner, Tthorpe. Tthorpe was named for one of the heroes who died in the 9-11 attacks of 2001.
“I think we’ll make a good team eventually. We’ll have to train and get to know one another, but he’s a good detection dog with good instincts.”
A memorial shadowbox was created for Bart after he was euthanized. Maus said he looks at it every day before he goes to work.
“It reminds me to stay vigilant and never forget that you don’t know what’s around the next corner.”