Missing Miami Beach K-9 Found

Rocko went missing from handler's home in Southwest Miami-Dade

Miami Beach Police said they've located a K-9 dog that went missing from his handler's home Monday night.

Police say Rocko, a 5 and a half-year-old black Belgian Malinois, escaped from his kennel area at his home in the area of 149th Street and Coral Way in Southwest Miami-Dade. His handler, Sgt. Luis Sanchez, realized Rocko was missing sometime around 7 p.m.

He was found safe and sound around 8:30 a.m. at a home in the 3000 block of Southwest 151st Court in Miami-Dade Tuesday morning, police said. Rocko was quickly reunited with Sanchez.

"I'm so happy its unexplainable," said Sanchez. "That's how happy I am."

Police said 20-year-old Shane Tarkalson found the dog while he was driving and brought it back to his home. He fed Rocko and let him play with his dogs until police were able to track him down Tuesday, police said.

"We saw the dog on the street and my son says 'mom, hold up. I gotta pick up the dog because he's going to get run over,'" said Alina Cabral, Tarkalson's mother.

Sanchez and several officers spent the night looking for Rocko, Miami Beach Police spokeswoman Vivian Hernandez said.

"It is a tremendous amount of relief because I have been with this dog on and off assisting him and recycling him to our new handler for the last 6 years," said Miami Beach Captain Henry Doce.

Fellow officers know the value of a K-9 when it comes to the heart and the force.

"It's a connection that's hard to explain because that dog is with us more than our families are. When he's at home he's with me and when I'm at work he's with me," said Miami Beach K-9 Officer Alex Llaneras. "So we knew it was important to go and try and get him."

Belgian Malinois are worth up to $9,000, police said.

"When you put together the handler, the car, all the training time, it's about a $50-$60,000 investment," added Sergeant John Clements.

Rocko was wearing a black collar and is micro-chipped. He has three years of training and is a dual purpose dog who can do criminal apprehensions and search for bombs.

"He's very protective and when he's enclosed he gets very agitated. He wants to get outside and do something," said Sanchez.

Sanchez said he's looking to reinforce Rocko's kennel and will give him a new chew toy to welcome him back home.

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