SBPD K9 Rumble retires from the force due to a form of elbow dysplasia. His trainer and K9 handler, Officer Sarah Bellavance is raising funds to get Rumble the medical care he needs.

Rumble Retires: Officer Fundraises for K9 Surgery

Home » Community » Rumble Retires: Officer Fundraises for K9 Surgery

Thursday December 14, 2017

“It is with deep sadness that the South Burlington Police shares that our new K9 Rumble will be unable to serve as a police K9. Despite his strong start and intense enthusiasm for his job, he has been diagnosed with two conditions that will prevent him from being a working dog.” So reads a press release from the desk of Chief of Police Trevor Whipple. The K9 recruit, who at just weeks old joined the force earlier this summer, was under the supervision and training of SBPD Officer and K9 Handler Sarah Bellavance. Rumble, already at work practicing searches, has been described as having great potential with the ability to learn new tasks quickly. According to Chief Whipple, Rumble will revert to the full custody of his handler. Upholding the SBPD core value of loyalty and dedication, Officer Bellavance welcomed the retired K9 into her home, where Rumble will become a member of her household and live out his life as a family pet. She says, “I love him too much to give him up.”

As the pup grew, Officer Bellavance said Rumble showed signs of discomfort; after running around, he had a severe limp. A veterinary appointment, which included x-rays, diagnosed Rumble with United Anconeal Process (UAP) in both elbows, a form of elbow dysplasia, and Fragmentation of the Coronoid Process in one elbow. He will require surgery, which will reduce pain and the chance of arthritis. Officer Bellavance learned that even with surgery, the physical demands of being a police K-9 would be too much for the already 80-pound German Shepherd.

The costs of surgery will be the responsibility of Officer Bellavance, who created a gofundme page to raise money for the cause. She writes, “This surgery is needed as it will alleviate pain so he can live a happier and healthier life. Without the surgery, pain and arthritis will most likely set in at a young age. The longer Rumble goes without the surgery, the worse his condition will become.” According to the gofundme page and Chief Whipple, “Any funds not needed for his surgery will be donated to the police department for continuation of the K9 program.”

Officer Bellavance is happy to report, “We will be continuing our search for his replacement, and thankfully I will still be the handler for the next dog.”

To contribute to Rumble’s medical care and the SBPD K9 program, visit