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Despite injury, Columbia County K9 and handler take 1st place in weekend event

Columbia County Sheriff's Office canine and handler place 1st despite injury.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Fla. — Despite suffering a painful injury, Columbia County Corporal Matthew Waddington and his K9 partner “Cairo” went on to finish 1st place in this weekend’s K9′s United event.

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Action News Jax first told you about the K9 competition to aid local officers and police dogs last week. The local nonprofit, K9s United, brought the contest to Jacksonville to help pair more police dogs with officers around Northeast Florida

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The K9 competition on Sat., Nov. 18, brought 13 trained dogs around Florida, and their partners, to showcase their skills in real-world law enforcement exercises. These included wall jumps, tunnel crawls, and bailouts.

The teams participated in various challenges where awards were given for obstacle course, fastest dog, hardest dog, and top dog.

According to Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, during the obstacle course portion of the event, Corporal Waddington fell from a structure known as an “A Frame,” injuring his arm. Waddington dealt with the pain while completing the course and managing K9 Cairo with his other arm.

Read: K9 Officer Maverick officially joins Duval County School Police team’s specialty K9 unit

“It was after the completion of this exercise that Corporal Waddington sought treatment at an area hospital where it was learned he dislocated his shoulder,” the sheriff’s office said.

Waddington and Cairo took 1st place despite the injury. During the award ceremony, the Columbia County duo learned they were the only team to complete a perfect run. They also had the fastest time on the obstacle course.

“Matt embodies the resilient spirit and determination our employees have and truly represents the best within our organization,” Sheriff Mark Hunt said. “He could have easily quit when he got hurt and nobody would have blamed him for that. Instead, he persevered, and we are so proud of his accomplishment.”

K9s United event winners included Scott Stevenson and K9 Tyr (JSO) for Top Dog, Matt Waddington and K9 Cairo (Columbia County Sheriff’s Office) for obstacle, Casey Walsh and K9 Stern (Gainesville PD) for fastest dog, and Logan Schrock and K9 Junior (SJSO) for hardest dog.

Action News Jax wishes Corporal Waddington a speedy recovery and congratulations on the amazing win with your partner Cairo.

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The competition has become an effort to help local agencies afford more K9s, which the FDLE says can cost more than $4,500 each.

K9s United event winners included Scott Stevenson and K9 Tyr (JSO) for Top Dog, Matt Waddington and K9 Cairo (CCSO) for obstacle, Casey Walsh and K9 Stern (Gainesville PD) for fastest dog, and Logan Schrock and K9 Junior (SJSO) for hardest dog.

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