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Retired Manteca Police canine still charges like a champion
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Twelve-year-old retired Manteca police canine “Spike” charged like a champion in Saturday’s 41st Annual Manteca Police Canine competition, dragging a suspect from the passenger seat of a vehicle and out the driver’s door in a matter of seconds.

“Spike” was involved in a “white coat” demonstration that other competitors would follow.  He didn’t show his age – looking and acting more like a three-year-old police dog in his prime.

Veteran police officer Grant Flory had the canine as his partner for many years in Manteca where they worked the streets together. Flory also retired last year, noting Sunday that “Spike” has been out of service for over a year and is now living with him and his family.

“He doesn’t know how old he is and he just keeps on going,” the officer said. Flory also served as a judge at the Saturday meet sponsored by the Western States Police Canine Association.

The retired canine officer said that police dogs’ ages are compared to that of humans on a ratio of one to 10 in years.  Using that as a guide, his dog is well over 100 years old in dog years, he said.

Flory said the longtime Manteca canine has proven himself a champion over the years winning numerous first place and chiefs’ trophies in prior Western States competitions.

“He was fourth overall in the state several years ago and then ninth in the state a couple years after that,” he said.

The officer said his now family pet is often “a bit slow” when he first gets up in the morning when you can hear a joint pop as he stretches out. As for the demonstration in the protection phase of the competition, “Spike” was a little slow with his obedience, Flory added, because he’s been out of training.

The event was held again this year at Morenzone (baseball) Park located just south of the Manteca Golf Course clubhouse near Union Road and Center Street. In earlier years it had been held at the Shasta Elementary School park area at Powers and Edison streets.

Trophies to winning teams – officers and their canines – were presented during a dinner held at the Manteca Senior Center Saturday evening following the daylong competition.

The Chief’s Trophy went to the highest combined team score for the day held by members of the Yuba County Sheriff’s Department. The team was made up of Brian Thornton and his canine “Bear,” and Nathan Lybarger and his canine “Spike.”

In the patrol category judging the best overall scores, first place went to John Azevedo and canine “Blitz” of the Sacramento Police Department. Second place trophy was presented to Shane Gregory and canine “Ronin” of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.

The top two trophies awarded for narcotics detection went to Glenn Graves and his canine “Kai” of the Modesto Police Department. The second place went to Denise Gallegos and her canine “Dawson” representing the California Highway Patrol’s Golden Gate Division.

Officers Robert Phillips and Emmanuel Cruz of the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department received trophies for third and fourth places, respectively, in narcotics detection.

The approximately 30 officers in the competition came from as far away as Lake Tahoe, Chico and Citrus Heights for the two-day event.