On Tuesday morning, members of the Grant County Sheriff’s Office had to say goodbye to one of their own as K9 Officer A-Rod was euthanized after an incident where he attacked his handler, resulting in injuries.
A-Rod, named after Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, was being cared for by his handler, Dep. Jay Fitzgerald. While Fitzgerald attempted to feed A-Rod, the dog bit the handler on the arm, forcing him to get stitches and miss at least seven days of work.
Sheriff Nate Dreckman said the incident was out of character for A-Rod, who has been part of the department for 3.5 years, although there had been issues with his behavior as of late.
Not taking this lightly, the department had reviewed the issue with experts, including a veterinarian, and the conclusion was that it was best to euthanize the K9 officer.
““It is very unfortunate that we had to make this difficult decision,” Dreckman said.”We determined this was the only course of action that could be taken to ensure the safety of the handler, his family and the community.”
A-Rod served 3.5 years with the department, half of the time most service animals serve. Dreckman said while the efforts came to an end, A-Rod was “a very productive K9 for the Grant County Sheriff’s Office, not only with several significant drug seizures during his time working for the Sheriff’s Office, but several search and rescue operations as well.”
Dreckman said that his office has started preliminary talks on replacement, but at this point it may be a period of time before a decision would be made.
The Grant County Sheriff’s Office does have one K9 team still active, Deputy Eric Hottenstein and K9 Officer Diego, who has been in service with the department since January 2010. Both Hottenstein and Diego were injured last year when Hottenstein avoided a vehicle that pulled in front of their squad.