CPD K-9 found after leaving handler's yard

Posted at 11:19 AM, Apr 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-04 08:54:35-04

CINCINNATI -- A Cincinnati Police dog was found a half hour after Cincinnati police solicited the public's assistance to find the dog, Cincinnati Police Lt. Steve Saunders said.

K-9 Yaro escaped from his handler's home around 2 a.m. on Sunday, Saunders said in a press release Sunday morning. 

The handler, Police Officer Dane Billingsley, said he let Yaro out after a night out with the family. He went to go bring his partner back in and found the dog was missing and his fence had been damaged in the windy weather. Billingsley and Yaro have been partners for about a year.

"I was devastated when I saw that my partner wasn't where he was supposed to be," Billingsley said. "You build a bond with these dogs, working with them every single day and taking care of them every single day, and he's part of my family. Just not knowing where he was -- not knowing if he was OK, if he was hurt or if someone had found him or not -- just the unknown was pretty devastating."

Billingsley jumped in the car and started searching for Yaro. He also contacted Fairfield police, who he said "did an amazing job" and also called on the public in the search. A resident found Yaro near Mercy-Fairfield Hospital at about 11 a.m.

The woman who found Yaro, Liz Heet, didn't even know he was a police dog. She brought him into her yard and fed him.

"She saw him and just did a good deed and brought him in," Billingsley said.

He expressed thanks to everyone who helped find Yaro.

"I just want to say 'thank you' for wishing us the best, and all of your prayers and all of your concerns," Billingsley said. "We want to say 'thank you,' we're very happy to be back together."

K-9 Yaro is a 90-pound Belgian Malinois dog. He is two years old.