Pepper was not your usual K-9 dog, and his funeral procession on February 4th, at the Grace Fellowship Church in Paradise, Texas was as unique as they come. Over 200 people and their furry friends alike appeared at Deputy Pepper’s service to remember a dog that had a lot of life left in him, and was taken away from the force all too quickly. With a few barks and wagging tails, the service was a dedication to Pepper’s short life, but also to the people that he helped save. Five officers were able to go home to their families that night because of Pepper’s bravery.
Born in Holland in 2013, Pepper, a Dutch Sheppard, made his trek to the U.S. in Indiana in the summer of 2014 to begin training with his handler, Sergeant Joshua Manoushagian. Pepper’s first day on the job was January 7th, 2015 for Wise County.
On January 28th, Sergeant Manoushagian and Pepper responded to a call in the town of Bowie, northwest of Fort Worth, Texas. A suspect with an outstanding warrant was pulled over by local police but sped away in his vehicle. Eventually the individual stopped in a wooded area off of Hwy 121. The chase spanned through several cities, with multiple enforcement agencies involved. The Wise Country Sherriff’s office states that the suspect raised a gun at police officers, but did not fire at them. That’s when Pepper was pulled in to help corral the suspect into an open space. But just as Pepper located the suspect and signaled his team, the individual open fire, killing Pepper. Police officers arrived quickly and returned gun shots, killing the suspect. The person’s name has not been released.
Not even a month on the force and Pepper had died in the line of duty. Sergeant Manoushagian was consoled at the scene and the loss was felt throughout Dallas/Ft. Worth. Pepper was trained to take on such a situation with armed suspects and did so with the dignity that any trainer would respect.
At the funeral, spoke with a love and reverence one would have with a partner of Pepper’s caliber. “Pepper’s sacrifice insured that there is not a newlywed widow sitting in the front row this church. His sacrifice insure[s] that none of these officers children were left without fathers mothers without sons and no colleagues left without a brother.”
As we look to local law enforcement to keep our streets safe, their K-9 brethrens deserve as much recognition for their day-to-day duties. Pepper was given full honors at the memorial.