Florida K-9s Ax and Endo honored with Purple Hearts after gunshot injuries

Florida K-9s Ax and Endo have been honored with Purple Hearts after being shot in the line of duty earlier this year, deputies said.

On Wednesday, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood and the Georgia non-profit organization Irondog K9 International honored K-9s Endo and Ax.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said that K-9s Endo and Ax were injured while responding to an armed carjacking incident in Deltona in Sept. 2021. They were attempting to apprehend a fleeing suspect when they were shot.

During the ceremony on Wednesday, both K-9s are said to have received a Purple Heart from the sheriff’s office and a Medal of Honor from Irondog K9.

Photo from the Volusia County Sheriff's Office

Photo from the Volusia County Sheriff's Office

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Sheriff Chitwood also made comments during the ceremony about one of the first messages he received following the carjacking incident. It was from Irondog K9 and it offered to cover the dogs’ medical bills.

"It was this incredible, heartwarming email saying that whatever your organization needs, whatever Endo and Ax need, we got you," Sheriff Chitwood said. "We got medical bills, we got training – you tell us what you want."

Photo from the Volusia County Sheriff's Office

"Our job is to support these law enforcement K-9s and their handlers, and we are so excited to be able to be here for them," said Irondog K9's Mitzi Nash.

Irondog K9 has reportedly contributed more than $25,000 to the K-9s and handlers of the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. This includes about $4,000 in medical bills, $4,200 in first aid kits, and over $18,000 for a 3-day K-9 medic training class for every K-9 handler with the sheriff’s office.

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"The Sheriff's Office is grateful to Irondog K9 for their support and the valuable, potentially life-saving training and equipment they're providing every handler this week," the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said.

Photo from the Volusia County Sheriff's Office

In addition, they said that this is the second Purple Heart for retiring K-9 Endo since 2016. In the previous incident, he was shot in the neck while responding to a domestic disturbance call with his handler Deputy Brett Whitson.

Photo from the Volusia County Sheriff's Office

Meanwhile, they said that K-9 Ax is back on duty with his handler Deputy AJ Davis.

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