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Memorial honours Edmonton police service dogs

WATCH ABOVE: Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht unveiled a memorial honouring all fallen EPS police dogs. Editor Erin Callihoo has the highlights.

EDMONTON — A touching ceremony was held Friday to honour Edmonton police service dogs killed in the line of duty.

“Being a dog handler is the best of times and the worst of times,” said Sgt. Major Gary Cook. “When you’re catching the bad guys and you’re helping the citizens of Edmonton, it’s fantastic. When you have your partner die in your arms, it’s the worst of times.”

Members of the EPS Canine Unit unveiled a monument honouring the memory of fallen service dogs.

“You can speak on behalf of every handler – whether they’ve lost a dog and are in the monument or not – it’s a living legacy for these unbelievably heroic dogs that have sacrificed their lives for the betterment of our city,” said Sgt. Randy Goss.

READ MORE: Officers call for stronger laws to protect police dogs 

Police Chief Rod Knecht spoke about Quanto, the PSD killed in the line of duty two years ago.

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“PSD Quanto made the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect his team and the citizens of Edmonton,” said Knecht.

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He said Quanto’s brought more awareness about the valuable work these animal members do for the public and the police.

“Quanto’s loss drew attention to the critical role played by police service dogs leading to an amendment of the Criminal Code that significantly increased the penalties for anyone convicted of intentionally harming a service animal,” said Knecht.

READ MORE: Federal government to move on Quanto’s Law 

The ceremony also included a demonstration of what PSDs and their handlers can do.

The EPS Canine Unit was officially formed 48 years ago. It now has 15 teams.

WATCH: A memorial dedicated to fallen Edmonton PSDs was unveiled at Vallevand Kennels Friday. Shallima Maharaj has more on what the tribute means to police.