Rhode Island State Police announce death of K-9 Ruby


She was a hero, a movie star and a mutt.

Ruby lived a full life and saved the lives of others.

The Rhode Island State Police have announced the passing of K-9 Ruby, age 11 ½ years.

 She was euthanized on Friday, May 13 “following a sudden, acute, and untreatable illness,” according to a RISP press release.

“Today the Rhode Island State Police family is mourning the death of K-9 Ruby,” said Colonel Darnell S. Weaver, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and Director of the Department of Public Safety. “Her partnership with Corporal O’Neil was a special one and their search and rescue work in our K-9 Unit was a great service to the Rhode Islanders who have needed their help. Her award-winning rescue inspired us and we are grateful for her years of service.”

K-9 Ruby was handled by Rhode Island State Police Corporal Daniel O’Neil, and worked out of the Scituate State Police barracks. The partners served together since 2011.

“Our condolences go out to Rhode Island State Police K-9 Ruby, who served the state with distinction 11 years,” the Johnston Police said in a post on the department’s Facebook page. “Our thoughts go out to the RISP, Corporal O'Neil, and his family.”

Ruby was a mixed-breed dog — part Australian Shepard, part Border Collie — adopted from the Rhode Island SPCA and became one of the Ocean State’s first shelter dogs to train and serve with the Rhode Island State Police, according to the press release.

During her career, she and O’Neil participated in numerous search and rescue missions as part of the K-9 Unit. O’Neil and Ruby also volunteered to take part in the Community, Diversity and Equity Unit, traveling to schools and local events.

“K-9 Ruby dedicated her life to serve the citizens of Rhode Island and make a positive impact on every person she ever interacted with,” Weaver said. “She became a symbol of hope for all shelter dogs, showing the world what a shelter dog can do when just given love and the chance to shine. She had a full, happy, and wonderful life, not only as a trooper, but as part of a loving family. She worked right until the end and never gave up doing what she loved most — making people smile.”

According to RISP, in Glocester in late 2017 Ruby “successfully located a lost and distressed teenager who was the son of a shelter volunteer who had cared for her as a puppy.”

“As a result of this rescue, Ruby was named American Humane Hero Dog Search and Rescue Dog of the Year in 2018,” State Police said in the press release. “Her story was made into the 2022 Netflix move, ‘Rescued by Ruby.’”

She also helped in recovery efforts following the most recent Newport cliff collapse.

In 2020, Ruby and O’Neil were injured in a crash in Warwick after a vehicle struck their cruiser from behind while it was pulled off to this side of Interstate 95 north for a traffic stop.

“Ruby lived with Corporal O’Neil and his family,” according to RISP. “She will be honored privately.”

RISP also posted a remembrance on their Facebook page:

“We're saddened to announce the passing of K-9 Ruby following a sudden, acute, and untreatable illness. Ruby was rescued from the RISPCA and served admirably for 11 years. Please keep Corporal O'Neil, his family, and the entire K-9 family in your thoughts.”

To conclude the agency’s statements on the loss of Ruby, State Police noted Corporal O’Neil is not available for interviews.

“We ask that member of the media respect the O’Neil family’s privacy at this time,” they requested of outlets covering the story.

Ruby, police dog


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