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Michaud: FBI dog Ape likely saved lives in upstate NY standoff

After SWAT teams closed in on Kurt Meyers,

After SWAT teams closed in on Kurt Meyers, 64, in an abandoned bar on March 14, 2013, they sent in an FBI dog, named Ape, because a robot "could not navigate all the debris in the building," said Assemb. Andrew Raia (R-East Northport). Meyers shot the dog. "The dog gave its life to protect the police officers," Raia said. (Credit: AP)

An FBI tactical dog named Ape took a bullet to the chest yesterday, possibly saving the lives of State Police and FBI officers.

Ape, a 2-year-old Czech German shepherd who was on only his second mission, was sent first through the doorway of an abandoned bar, Glory Days, where suspect Kurt R. Myers had holed up. Myers was wanted in the seemingly random shootings this week that killed four people in Herkimer and Mohawk, N.Y.

The dog had been outfitted with a camera, which allowed human officers to “see” inside the bar. State Police said that when Myers shot and killed the dog, SWAT teams heard the gunfire, stormed the abandoned building and opened fire, killing 64-year-old Myers after his two-day rampage.

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Ape will receive a special burial at the FBI's headquarters in Quantico, Va., and will have his name etched on a wall in memory. He's just the second FBI tactical dog to die in the line of duty, the FBI told reporters.

Certainly, society holds human life in higher regard than canine. Officers' families must be grateful to Ape. But is it ethical to put dogs in the line of fire in this way? Law enforcement officers in Herkimer apparently first debated sending in a robot equipped with a camera, but there may have been too much debris in the way.

If dogs are going to be used increasingly by law enforcement — as seems the case — let's hope it's only in situations where it's the last resort. All life is precious.

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