Death Classification: Canine / Equine Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 6 years*
Unit of Assignment / Detail: Bureau of Field Services - Patrol Division: Unit 058 - Task Force Canine
District of Incident (Present Day): District of Incident Unknown
Cause of Death: Poisoning
Age at Time of Death: Unknwn
Date of Birth:
Date of Appointment: Mar 1979
Date of Incident: 01 Jan 1985
End of Watch: 01 Jan 1985
Date of Interment:
Cemetery: Not Interred - Other
Grave Location: Does Not Apply
Interment Disposition: Cremated
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Not Enshrined
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Not Listed
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Not Listed
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Not Listed
Officer Down Memorial Page: Not Listed
Military Service: Did Not Serve
Incident & Biographic Details
Police Canine DUKE was a 6 year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the Bureau of Field Services – Patrol Division: Unit 058 – Task Force Canine.
In 1985, K-9 DUKE and his handler, Patrolman Lawrence Rutili, conducted a search for a burglar in a grocery store. During the search K-9 DUKE ingested a piece of hot dog which was laced with, 1080, a poison for rodents. K-9 DUKE was taken to the David R. Lee Animal Care Center located at 2741 South Western Avenue. Doctors worked on K-9 DUKE from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. than night. They drew blood and sent samples to the University of Illinois and Northwestern University for analysis looking for an antitoxin, but there was no cure. They also tried flushing out his system and used antibiotics, but nothing worked. K-9 DUKE would later die.
The powdered poison that killed K-9 DUKE, known as 1080, was placed in the store by Charles Whitsett, who used it in an illegal exterminating business he operated out of his house located at 10909 South Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Whitsett would dip slices of hot dog in the powder and scatter them across the floor. In August 1984, Circuit Court Judge Anthony J. Scotillo ordered Whitsett to stop operating King Exterminating and using the illegal poison. A few months later Whitsett was sentenced to one year of probation and fined $250 for using the poison. But soon after, Whitsett now operating under a new name, Empire Exterminating Service, continued leaving hot dog slices powdered with 10-80 also known as Sodium Flouroacetate. The poison claimed its first victim, Police Canine DUKE. The poison would also claim the life of Police Canine MAX II. After K-9 MAX was killed and 1080 was found at other sites, the Illinois Attorney General’s Office brought criminal contempt charges against Whitsett for allegedly disobeying the court order.
Police Canine DUKE received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department in March, 1979. He graduated from the Police Canine Training Academy in June, 1979.
K-9 DUKE was survived by his handler, Patrolman Lawrence Rutili.
Due to the exact date of the incident and death of K-9 DUKE being unknown, circa January 1, 1985 was used for the date of incident / death. Through research, The “Chicago Police Star Magazine – 1984, November – December“ issue mentions K-9 DUKE being alive and the next mention of him is in the “Chicago Police Star Magazine – 1986, January – February“ issue, noting his death. It is believed that the incident / death of K-9 DUKE took place sometime in 1985.