El Cerrito police dog recovers after ingesting meth

EL CERRITO (KTVU and wires) -- An El Cerrito police dog is back on the job Monday night after a scare last week when the German Shepard ingested drugs while searching a car in the East Bay.

El Cerrito Officer Joshua Del Prado, the handler for the K-9 unit dog named Koda, talked to KTVU about how frightening it was to have his four-legged partner have such a close call.

The two are trained for patrol work with a focus on narcotics detection. They never know where the search for illegal drugs will take them

And it doesn't take the 4-year-old German Shepherd long to sniff out illegal drugs, in this case crystal meth.

The team was called to help assist on a traffic stop at Carlson Boulevard and Shasta Avenue last Wednesday in El Cerrito.

Koda went to work searching the vehicle, finding crack cocaine and something else.

"He's trying to pinpoint an odor, explained Del Prado. As he got closer to the floor board, I noticed a small plastic bindle of something. I didn't know what it was."

Then Officer Del Prado noticed the bindle was gone and feared Koda had ingested it.

"Depending on the dosage, how their body responds to it, it could be fatal," explained Del Prado. "I didnt' want anything to happen to my partner."

Officer Del Prado rushed Koda to an emergency veterinary clinic where they determined the canine had methamphetamine in his system.

Del Prado was afraid for his partner's life.

It's a long 2 and half year relationship, said Del Prado. We've built a bond that is not like any other.

The last thing you want to do is see your partner go down.

Koda was kept overnight for observation and made a full recovery, much to Del Prado's relief.

"I was really excited the next day to go pick him up," said Del Prado. Really couldn't wait for my shift to begin."