The Benton Police Department says its tactical dog, Benton, died early Thursday morning after a brief battle with an illness.
According to statement from police, the black Labrador retriever was being treated for Lyme disease, and appeared to be recovering, when his health started to decline. After a veterinary hospital discovered that Benton was also suffering from an autoimmune disease, his "condition started deteriorating rapidly," police said.
Benton, who was born in 2008, began training in narcotics detection with the department in the spring of 2009.
He was part of drug busts that netted authorities more than nine pounds of cocaine, 48 pounds of methamphetamine, 20 pounds of marijuana and more than $100,000 in drug-related money, according to the news release.
Benton had been named by a Ringgold Elementary School student, Autumn Meyers, in a contest among local third-graders. During his life, he was handled by officers Chris Eaton and Hunter Begoon, as well as detective Eli Fowlkes.