FARGO — Despite beating an earlier time, the Fargo Police Department's K-9 Falco and his handler were eliminated in the first round of the grand finale of "America's Top Dog," a television show that aired Wednesday night, March 18.
Falco and officer Dave Cochran had a time of 1:53.57 in the obstacle course, but missed the second round of the A&E show by five seconds.
Falco had advanced to the finale by winning a competition in an earlier episode. Of the 50 dogs entered, he was one of seven competing for the top prize of $25,000.
At 8 years old, Falco was the oldest dog in the finals, show emcee Curt Menefee noted.
The winning time in the first round was 1:10.7 by a K-9 team from Morris County, N.J.
Falco perhaps could have advanced to the second round. But in the "combine," as Menefee called the obstacle course, the dog failed to jump right away into the pool at the end of the course, losing valuable seconds.
The course also included jumping over and around cars, navigating a fire escape, leaping over high jumps and racing across a rope bridge. The obstacles are meant to mimic real-life challenges that the dogs face on the beat.
For winning one of the earlier weekly episodes, Falco and Cochran got $5,000 to donate to an animal charity and $10,000 for the department's police K-9 fund that pays for veterinarian bills, food and training for the city's police dogs.
Wednesday night's program was recorded earlier, but police spokeswoman Jessica Schindeldecker said they were required to keep the results of the finale quiet until after it aired.