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Sheriff’s Office Announces Retirement of Vital Partner

Yulee, Fla. – Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper is pleased to announce the retirement of K-9 Zora.  Zora joined the Sheriff’s Office on June 15, 2006 and was officially retired from service on February 22, 2013.


K-9 Zora was originally assigned to Sgt. Ryan Vantassell when she entered her service with the agency in June 2006. She was later assigned to Deputy Larry Durham, who utilized her in conjunction with the Northeast Florida HIDTA Task Force (DEA side) for several years. Upon Deputy Durham’s completion with the task force, Zora was reassigned to Deputy Brian Blackwell where she finished out her career.

“Law enforcement canines play a vital role in public service. They locate criminals, uncover drugs and explosives, find crucial evidence and assist with missing person cases, while protecting the lives of police officers and citizens,” stated Sheriff Bill Leeper.

Zora was responsible for the recovery of well in excess of $120,000 in illegal drugs throughout her career. The highlight find of K-9 Zora’s career was a multi-kilo find on Interstate I-95 where she located two kilos of cocaine hidden in a battery in the engine compartment of a pickup truck.

“This is the first retirement since I became Sheriff.  It is very special to be able to retire this canine who has served the agency for 7 years.  When you consider it as nearly 50 dog years, her law enforcement service career has surpassed her handlers and me,” continued Leeper.

Zora is currently nine years old and will remain with Deputy Blackwell as a family pet.