Rusik, an esteemed member of the Russian police was killed on July 12, 2003. He was run over by a car while performing his duty.

Rusik joined the police force in the Stavropol region, near the Caspian sea around a year ago. Fish smuggling is serious problem in the area with several species becoming endangered by excessive smuggling. The sturgeon in particular as been fished almost to the brink of extinction. The stray kitten was taken in by a police checkpoint and fed on scraps of fish confiscated from smugglers.

Very quickly Rusik showed that he had a very keen sense of smell when it came to fish, even better than the police's sniffer dogs. Rusik helped officers conduct spot checks on vehicles, apparently finding fish no matter how well concealed. He was considered a valuable member of the team by all.

On the 12th of July, only a few days after coming to the attention of the international media, Rusik was run over by a car. Police at the checkpoint reported that the driver seemed to have moved deliberately, but they have not yet ruled out the possibility of an accident. Police think this may be the first contract killing of a cat, as apparently Rusik had found sturgeon in the same car on a previous encounter.

Rusik was a young cat in his prime, who had so much more to accomplish in life. His colleagues, deeply saddened by his death, stressed nevertheless that it was not in vain. The valuable contribution that cats can bring to law enforcement has been recognised and Russian authorities are planning to train other cats to perform a similar job.

Sources:,7034,6745843%255E401,00.html a picture of Rusik)