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Officer mourns K9 Justice: 'He was truly my best friend'

Posted at 9:46 AM, May 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-12 09:46:31-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Justice, a 10-year-old K9 with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF), has died from cancer, the department announced Tuesday.

The black Labrador retriever who joined the DGIF in 2011 retired in January after a cancer diagnosis.

“It’s hard to put into words, the bond we shared. He was part of my family,” Justice’s partner Officer Wayne Billhimer said. “He was truly my best friend.”

Billhimer and his wife officially adopted Justice and cared for him after his retirement.

“Justice taught me lots of things in our time together, but one thing that stands out is perseverance,” Billhimer said. “Some of the hardest cases we did were older cases, so we didn’t start working the case until a few days after the crime. Justice would push through and never give up. The only time he would stop was when I would physically stop him and say, ‘We’re done.’ We tracked a suspect once and went seven miles. I was exhausted, but not once did Justice give up. He just kept going.”