NEW YORK -- Four police dogs killed in the line of duty are being recognized with a new award from the American Kennel Club.
The New York-based organization announced the first "AKC Paw of Courage" medal winners Monday.
"These working dogs possess great courage and dedication," said AKC Vice President Gina DiNardo in a statement. "They continuously put their lives on the line, and have sacrificed their own safety, well-being, and in some cases even their lives, to keep us safe."
Ogar, a Belgian Malinois that worked with the Smith County Constables' office in Texas, was shot and killed by a suspect. So was Krijger, a Malinois with the Norfolk Police Department in Virginia.
A third Malinois, Jag, was hit by a car during a training and certification session. He worked with California's Twin Rivers Unified School District Police Department.
Betcha, an Australian cattle dog, worked with the Rutland County Sheriff's Office in Vermont. Betcha died after running in front of his handler's patrol car.
"Each dog awarded with the AKC Paw of Courage has made a significant sacrifice in the line of duty," said DiNardo.
Purebred and mixed-breed dogs are eligible for the award.
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