Ligonier Township K-9 officer succumbs to cancer
Blek, the retired Ligonier Township K-9 officer that survived a 2015 vehicle crash that claimed the life of its partner, Lt. Eric Eslary, has died after a battle with cancer, Eslary's widow, Mary Beth Eslary, announced Tuesday via social media.
Eslary posted on her Facebook account that Blek was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in September that impeded the mobility of one of its rear legs.
“Blek was a true warrior, as he fought for six months only using three legs to navigate,” she wrote, adding that the German shepherd “has to be the toughest dog ever as we all ponder how he survived the vehicle accident.”
According to Eslary, only family members, close friends and fellow officers knew about Blek's medical condition.
Township police Chief Michael Matrunics said Blek died Tuesday after Eslary called with the news that the police dog “wasn't doing good.”
He said the department would consult with Eslary on how best to recognize Blek's death.
Eslary indicated she was “crushed” by Blek's death. “I may have been the last to kiss my husband, but Blek heard his voice last and heard Eric take his last breath,” she wrote. “Blek saved me, as I cried many tears on his coat.”
Lt. Eslary, 40, died May 5, 2015, in a head-on vehicle crash on Route 30 in Ligonier Township. Blek suffered a ruptured spleen and a ruptured disc in the collision and was retired from the police force the following August.
Clair Fink of Ligonier was sentenced to 12 to 30 years in prison for striking Eslary's police cruiser head-on as he drove the wrong way on Route 30 with a blood-alcohol level more the double the legal limit.