Dade County K9 Rocco found safe, after 15 hour search

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DADE COUNTY, Ga. (WDEF) – The Dade County Sheriff’s Office says that Rocco was found safe Thursday just before 11 am.

The search began at 8 pm on Wednesday.

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The K9 was in the car with his handler, Sgt. York with the Sheriff’s Office, when his door malfunctioned, Rocco jumped out of the car going to a wreck on the interstate.

Around 11 am, he was located by citizens who volunteered to help with the search.

Sheriff Cross says, “our community was essential in helping us find Rocco, and bring him home!”

The sheriff says he is looking into the malfunction of the K9 door on the new patrol unit, and he assures the community that it will be addressed.

Sgt. York says, “He was alert and happy to see me” when they were alerted about where he was.

The news sent first responders rushing down the highway here at the I-59 I-24 Split.

Rocco and Casey York are partners in the Dade County Sheriff’s Office. And Wednesday night, they were separated when the door of a new patrol unit popped open and Rocco hopped out.

Last night was hard for Sgt. York and his family because he is with him 24/7. They were all relieved, which was shown by this reassuring pat on the back from his daughter.

York says, Wednesday, he immediately began searching for him.

Thursday, York says, “I’m just thrilled. And to know that we have people that, civilians that volunteered to help. It was a tragedy and if we had and have found him, a day or two from now, where he was it he probably would have never been found.”

Rocco has a broken leg and he will be headed to Knoxville for surgery.

Sgt. York says this is definitely not the end of his career. York says, “He is still young in his service so we still have a long way to go.”

There is no word yet on how long Rocco will be off duty. The Sheriff is commending a volunteer who alerted officials about his location.

“The outpouring of support, people who we come out to help to help search and found him in one of the citizens did find them and we are just grateful, this is the best community in the world,” says Sheriff Cross.

The sheriff says that he will address whatever caused that door to malfunction, but for now they’re focused on getting Rocco back in full healthy so that he could continue to serve this community.