GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — A North Carolina police department’s K-9 officer died after a recent snake bite, officials said this week.

K-9 Pepper joined the Greenville Police Department nearly three years ago, according to a news release from Greenville police.

“Pepper may have been small in stature but he was a feisty guy and arrived at the Greenville Police Department ready to work,” the news release said.

Police said with “great sadness” that Pepper died late last week after complications from the bite.

“Please keep Pepper’s handler, Officer Bobby Parker, in your thoughts and prayers,” police said in the news release.

“It is never easy to lose a partner in our line of work — our four-legged ones hold an extra special place in our hearts,” officers added.